There's been a lot of talk about the danger of texting while driving. Talking on your cellphone is also a dangerous idea and illegal here in Maryland. But lawmakers have not gone far enough to criminalize other driving behaviors.
What makes me qualified to advise any state on additional regulations?
My life on the road.
Every day my commute takes me on a miasma of interstates and beltways and through tunnels with lousy radio reception.
My round trip affords me ample time to observe the driving habits of my brethren with time left to finish my novel, double check the meaning of "miasma" and dissect every turning point in my life that led me to this commute.
But here's the difference between me and them: While I use my commute creatively and philosophically, other drivers are breaking the law. Not yet, mind you, but they will be breaking the law if I have my way with the General Assembly.
Beginning January 2014, I propose all drivers stuck in traffic and heard singing the following will be subject to fine and/or imprisonment:
Any Katy Perry single.
"Sweet Home Alabama."
"Don't Stop Believing."
Any show tune.
First-time offenders would be fined $50. Drivers incurring a second offense would lose their licenses for 30 days. A third offense would land motorists in any of our federal penitentiaries, where singing restrictions also apply.
Reckless singing, however, pales in comparison to other disturbing behaviors. We've all heard of "Road Rage," but I've become more concerned with "Road Relief." I suspect there are laws already on the books involving this behavior, but lawmakers need to strengthen those laws.
Perhaps you, too, have witnessed the scene:
Commuters are gridlocked due to a fender bender clearly off the road and not impacting traffic, yet traffic has come to a standstill in compulsive observance of said minor fender bender. Nearby, one driver has parked on the shoulder and exited his car.
Look at him standing there, enjoying the idyllic vista only an interstate can offer -- trees, bushes, graffiti, roadkill. Look at how he has left the passenger door open and is standing behind it like a nervous statue.
Look no more, fellow travelers.
The driver is relieving himself.
As a fellow guy, I am not without sympathy. Nature has us on speed dial sometimes. But on a Friday afternoon when my commuting time magically doubles, I just want to get home. I'm not in the mood for Katy Perry or that dude over there hiding behind his car door.
I'm sensible enough to know we can't legislate all human behavior. I'm sensible enough not to call for severe prison sentences for people who change lanes in tunnels or give my Prius dirty liberal looks.
But "Don't Stop Believing" and roadside relieving?
Can't they wait until they get home?