No smoking in cars or no consistency

I recently noticed a car with a non-smoking sign inside.  It had a trillium on the side, so it was likely owned by the provincial government.  My next thought was why we permit smoking in cars.  I’m not here to debate whether any government should get to have a say about this, but allowing smoking seems to be politically and logically inconsistent with a certain one of Ontario’s currently-enacted laws.

In Ontario, occupying one’s hands with a cellular phone while driving is a no-no.  The rationale is that we can improve safety by doing this.  While this is true to a certain extent (discussed briefly in The Gospel According to the Scientific Method and the ensuing comments), this surely ruffled the feathers of quite a large number of drivers.  If politicians were really concerned about a decrease in safety caused by one hand of the driver being occupied, why not ban smoking by drivers in cars, too?

Because the number of smokers in cars is probably dwarfed by the number of people who (continue) to use a cellular phone without some sort of hands-free aid, politically, banning smoking by drivers looks like a much easier sell.  I’m somewhat perplexed by the fact that a ban that would seemingly produce smaller voter backlash and have (at least in the reality crafted by our lawmakers) the same effect, but on a smaller subset of the population, has not been enacted though a more controversial one has.  As it stands, our laws are inconsistent and the politicians chose the hard way about it.

2 Replies to “No smoking in cars or no consistency”

  1. I think the problem isn’t so much the use of a hand for stuff other than driving, but the divided attention required in carrying a conversation with someone that doesn’t have access to your context.

    1. That’s indeed what the literature says is happening. Thus, our current ban is mostly ineffective. However, I’m just puzzled about the problem of consistency here, not the effectiveness of what happens in politics-lands.

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