IDIOT is an Acronym

Idiot is actually an acronym made from the phrase “Ignorant Driver is Obsessively Texting,” so, perhaps it should be capitalized. To make this post easier to read, however, it shall remain represented in the usual way.

Perhaps it’s confirmation bias—the natural inclination to see what you want to see and ignore the rest—but it just seems that more and more drivers are idiots (see the above definition; it is assumed to be ‘the one’ throughout this post). Take a closer look at the drivers beside you the next time you are in traffic. No doubt you’ll see an alarming number of mobiles in use. And at the red lights: down go the eyes. No, the drivers are not smiling as they discover that their zippers are, in fact, pulled up. Just look at the pale bluish glow that lights the faces. It’s the light from the display on the mobile. Green light: nobody moves until the ONE driver not on the mobile finally leans on the horn in frustration. And the left-turning drivers you see while you are stopped? They are texting too. …while making a left turn in front of traffic!

And NO, this is not to suggest that we should augment the green lights with a ‘beep beep’ signal to tell the drivers to put away the phones.

But this is to suggest that we have a problem out there on the roads—a big dangerous problem. There’s probably not one of you who does not have a story of a near miss—or perhaps a fatality—caused by an idiot driver. I have been affected three times: two friends-of-friends have been killed in two separate vehicular accidents and one good friend was run over by an idiot while he was out running. He suffered a broken back, among other things, and, two years later is nowhere close to being back to normal.

It’s not enough to say that we need laws against the use of mobiles by drivers. We already have them. The problem is, though, that idiots truly feel that those laws do not apply to them. It’s not necessarily that they feel ‘above the law,’ generally; no, it’s far worse than that. Idiots truly believe that they can multi-task; that they can do it safely while driving. Of course they cannot! The real truth is that idiots are not self-aware enough to realize that they are wrong. Or maybe they are just stupid…

It’s not enough to say that we need more policing. Law enforcement is complicated (that is, highly skilled) and therefore very expensive for tax-payers. It’s unlikely that any government will put the massive number of extra officers on the street to combat what is not at the moment an issue deemed important enough by the general population. That is, the outcry is not loud enough to goad the government leaders into getting it done.

No, the answers lie elsewhere. As is generally the case for social issues there will be no one ‘killer-app’ response. Rather the solution, if it indeed happens, will likely be a combination of creative measures including:

  • Efforts (similar to those that MADD have done to curb drinking and driving) to shape public opinion such that idiots are generally frowned upon by the community.
  • Technical safety solutions installed on new vehicles such as stay-in-lane assists and collision avoidance systems.
  • Self-driving cars. Yes—major companies, including Google, are spending major resources on this.
  • And, yes, better legislation coupled with more effective enforcement.

In the meantime watch out for the idiots and be safe.


About Maurice A. Barry

Coordinator: Teaching and Learning Commons, Faculty of Education, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Parent & Husband. eLearning consultant/coordinator. Program Development Specialist - eLearning (Department of Education; Retired). Writer: over 40 Math/Physics texts/webs. Developer & Manager of web content. Geek. Not into awards but loves comments.
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13 Responses to IDIOT is an Acronym

  1. Wow! You are on a roll with drivers and ‘phones right now. But seriously, what did the world do before mobile ‘phones? Managed without.

    If ours rings and I am in the passenger seat I’ll answer it. Maybe. I usually say, ring you back later because I can’t hear what they are saying over the noise of the diesel Land Rover engine anyway.

    Either way, nothing is that important to risk safety when driving.

    I did read a brilliant skit in Viz once (satirical british mag) regarding women putting on lipstick at traffic lights and – doing more, but yours is a polite blg so I will go no further. However the whole issue is the same, drive and concentrate on that. I’m ranting nearly as much as you!

  2. The portable entertainment/distraction has become a serious problem. Yes, the roads are a very dangerous problem with some, so I hope to see mass production of the self-driving vehicle. What to do about those that walk into traffic and off subway platforms staring @ the “blue light” is another problem.

  3. bluonthemove says:

    One possible answer to the problem is to put a mobile phone signal blocker somewhere within the fabric of the car, so that in emergencies one can step outside the vehicle to make a call. A friend of mine has a portable one of these, and every train carriage he travels in is the ‘quiet’ carriage apart from people muttering aloud why can’t I get a !&%*$&^! signal.

    • I wish I owned one of those! It would give such satisfaction :>) You know I am actually surprised that we have not developed equipment such as that–and made installing it mandatory–so that drivers have no choice but to go hands-free if they use the phone at all.

  4. johnlmalone says:

    yes. it is a problem. I don’t know whether police are cracking down on it to the extent that they are on drink driving. If they did — if they could — there would be a reduction of such incidents but TV campaigns and posters would also assist

    • When people believe it is a problem and when people accept that driving is unsafe while distracted by the mobile then we will see change. Know what? I see real parallels to where we were with drinking and driving 30-40 years ago. I see both hope–this will change–and hard work ahead.

  5. Mjollnir says:

    Valid points, well made Maurice, and I like the acronym. Let’s hope Many Are Upset, Reading Idiotic Car Exploits!

  6. When someone does something stupid on the road, they are usually talking on the phone. It is a result of “digital natives” – those who grew up with computers and phones to communicate. For the older generations who didn’t grow up with all this technology, when a calculator was the coolest, whizbang thing, all this is a learned language. I think we stopped teaching kids manners a long time ago, along with personal responsibility. Maybe we need to teach Emily Post in schools since parents aren’t teaching manners.

    • Once upon a time I would just shrug it off and say something like, “Don’t worry, they will learn manners when they grow up and are faced with responsibilities.” I don’t shrug it off so much any more. Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like people are less and less likely to accept responsibility; less and less likely to show respect towards others. I really don’t know where the answer is but feel that maybe we are becoming victims of success. When things come easy perhaps people don’t have to wonder where they came from or even work extra hard to just try and succeed.

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