Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Calculating While Driving

Last night, as I was driving home, I was thinking about the economics of a particular deal that I’ve been working on. When I pulled up to a traffic light I pulled out my phone and launched the calculator app to run a couple numbers.

As I sat there at the light it suddenly occurred to me that what I was doing could just as easily be construed by an observer as texting. That of course would be illegal but I wasn’t so sure if calculating while driving was covered under this law.

Years ago, when I was living in New Jersey, my ex-wife worked for a check authorization company. Every day she drove all over northern New Jersey and into New York City visiting her retail clients. She was a pretty scary person behind the wheel. It was not uncommon for her to be drinking her coffee, doing her nails and writing letters as she navigated some of the most congested highways in the country.

The thing is, under Maryland law, what she was doing wasn’t necessarily illegal either. Sure, if she had crashed into someone it's likely she’d have been found violating some statute or other but I used to joke that the accidents were always behind her. Her actions may have caused an accident or two but she would have been blissfully unaware of it as she rolled down the road multitasking.
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