Wednesday, March 01, 2006

The only safe way to eat in a car

Charlie Sykes likes Ragnar's satirical posting about a government ban on eating while driving. It is funny.

But maybe satire is no longer possible, at least when it comes to the nanny state. In many places in the world, it is illegal to use a cell phone while driving and there have been lawsuits alleging that employers should be held liable if their employees are involved in accidents when using their mobiles while driving. One lawyer has argued that cell phone manufacturers should be liable as well if they don't warn you that you might not pay attention to the road while telling your husband that the kids need to be picked up by 5. Details are here. For that reason, lots of lawyers recommend that companies permit only the use of hands free phones while driving on the job. I've done it myself and at least one poll shows that Americans think it ought to be the law.

In the UK, a "motoring association" has argued that, if you're going to ban mobile phone use in cars, you really have to ban eating as well. At least one consultant has recommended that promoting eating in cars raises liability concerns and advised fast food companies to make their menu items easy to eat. If I spent a little time on this, I am sure I could find examples of cases in which some kind of negligent eating theory was put forth. You know how those breakfast burritos tend to leak cheese? I think they're "defective."

So if I have to recommend that we permit only hands free mobile phones, maybe I should also counsel that we require the use of feedbags.

No comments: