a measure of responsibility

How long will it be before someone dies, or kills another Yukoner because they were talking on the phone, or texting while driving? Will it be you? It could be. Easily. Most people have answered a phone while driving.

How long will it be before someone dies, or kills another Yukoner because they were talking on the phone, or texting while driving?

Will it be you?

It could be. Easily.

Most people have answered a phone while driving.

The things are ubiquitous, and their ringer calls to us like the mythical Siren. It is damn difficult to ignore.

And flicking that handset open and carrying on a conversation while driving is akin to sliding behind the wheel after downing three beers.

Apparently, despite all its cleverness and dexterity, our species, Homo sapiens, has a hard time holding a cellphone, turning a steering wheel, shifting gears, checking the rearview mirror, shoulder checking, signalling and touching brakes while carrying on a conversation with a demanding daughter. Or son.

Who knew?

Well, most people.

Let’s not kid ourselves. This isn’t anything new. The perils of driving and talking on a cellphone have been well documented for more than 10 years.

Researchers have determined the brain has a hard time concentrating on the road and on a conversation at the same time. When we’re on the phone, we are either not giving our full attention to the person we’re talking to, or the road.

And the road never says, “Did you get that?”

Now, some argue that people listen to the radio all the time. But the radio doesn’t talk back, or demand a response.

Of course, we talk to people while we’re driving all the time, but they are sharing the same road experience and can tailor their conversation to events on the road.

And let’s not forget that the technology is getting much more sophisticated.

Handheld computing technology has advanced exponentially.

Today, in addition to holding the cellphone, turning a steering wheel, shifting gears, checking the rearview mirror, shoulder checking, signalling and touching brakes while carrying on a conversation, you can read an e-mail and write a reply.

It’s called multitasking.

Others might call it idiocy. But there are many people who do it.

And, really, besides common sense, there is nothing on the books preventing it.

Such activities are not against the law in the Yukon, and there’s no evidence it’s a priority for the territorial government.

But most other provinces have acted to ban the practice.

Quebec, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, BC and Ontario have all outlawed it. Alberta announced it will introduce legislation soon, as has Manitoba.

Enforcement is a problem, but it always is.

However, having a law on the books does send the message that the practice is against the societal norm.

And that less-than-subtle message could probably save someone’s life.

Besides, as Aaron Mcgowan notes in his letter on page 8, if the government fails to pass legislation banning the practice, it bears a measure of blame for any cellphone-related traffic deaths.

It’s an good point. We thank him for making it. (Richard Mostyn)

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Fines for contravening the fire ban start at $1,150 and could go as high as $100,000. File photo
Yukon campgrounds will open on May 1 this year. (Black Press file)
Yukon campgrounds to open early

Yukon campgrounds will open on May 1 this year. The early opening… Continue reading

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: The aesthetics and economics of highway strips

One of the many cultural experiences you enjoy while driving from Whitehorse… Continue reading

Submitted
Artwork by Grade 2 student Faith showing her thanks for everyone.
Artwork by Grade 2 student Faith showing her thanks for everyone. (Submitted)
Yukon kids express gratitude for nature, pets and friends in art campaign

More than 50 children submitted artwork featuring things they are grateful for

Team Yukon skip Laura Eby, left, directs her team as Team Northern Ontario skip Krysta Burns looks on at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Calgary on Feb. 22. (Jeff McIntosh/CP)
Team Yukon reports positive experience at Scotties

Team Yukon played their final game at the national championship in Calgary on Thursday afternoon

A sign indicating a drop-off area behind Selkirk Elementary school in Whitehorse on Feb. 25. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Parking lot proposal for Selkirk Elementary criticized

Parents and school council are raising concerns about green space and traffic woes

Tom Ullyett, pictured, is the first Yukoner to receive the Louis St-Laurent Award of Excellence from the Canadian Bar Association for his work as a community builder and mentor in the territory. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
Tom Ullyett wins lifetime achievement award from the Canadian Bar Association

Ullyett has worked in the Yukon’s justice ecosystem for 36 years as a public sector lawyer and mentor

The Blood Ties outreach van will now run seven nights a week, thanks to a boost in government funding. Logan Godin, coordinator, and Jesse Whelen, harm reduction counsellor, are seen here on May 12, 2020. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Blood Ties outreach van running seven nights a week with funding boost

The Yukon government is ramping up overdose response, considering safe supply plan

Ranj Pillai speaks to media about business relief programs in Whitehorse on April 1, 2020. The Yukon government announced Feb.25 that it will extend business support programs until September. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Government extends business relief programs to September, launches new loan

“It really gives folks some help with supporting their business with cash flow.”

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
A look at decisions made by Whitehorse City Council this week

Bylaw amendment Whitehorse city council is moving closer with changes to a… Continue reading

Susie Rogan is a veteran musher with 14 years of racing experience and Yukon Journey organizer. (Yukon Journey Facebook)
Yukon Journey mushers begin 255-mile race

Eleven mushers are participating in the race from Pelly Crossing to Whitehorse

Legislative assembly on the last day of the fall sitting in Whitehorse on Nov. 22, 2018. As the legislature prepares to return on March 4, the three parties are continuing to finalize candidates in the territory’s 19 ridings. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Nine new candidates confirmed in Yukon ridings

It has been a busy two weeks as the parties try to firm up candidates

David Malcolm, 40, has been charged with assaulting and attempting to disarm a police officer after an incident in Whitehorse on Feb. 18. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
Man resists arrest, assaults officer

A Whitehorse man has been charged with assaulting and attempting to disarm… Continue reading

Yukon Energy in Whitehorse on Aug. 4, 2020. A site on Robert Service Way near the Alaska Highway has been selected as the future home of Yukon Energy’s energy storage project. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Site selected for Yukon Energy battery project

Planned to be in service by the end of 2022

Most Read