This week New York's state legislature dragged itself out of paralyzing gridlock to pass a law that bans playing video games while driving. Putting on makeup, shaving, beating your children, that still isn't specifically proscribed.

I suppose the Empire State is in cutting-edge democracy-lab mode for this one, having seen the devastation wrought by a rogue PSP player on a Honolulu bus. Yes, this is a blanket ban on using all portable electronics, and is probably meant to stop driving while texting, which is more profligate and a bigger problem than playing Patapon on the Thruway. But the ban is only a secondary violation - meaning you have to get popped for something else first before you can be cited for the $150 fine.

Now, if a cop rolls up beside you while you're scratching on the DS, my guess is he'll consider you're driving carelessly, pull you over for that, and then slap you with driving-while-gaming. So it's not like you can flout this so long as you're buckled up, doing the speed limit and have all tail lights intact. But if so, it kind of raises the question why this law is necessary in the first place.

When I start my own state legislature, we are going to ban driving while making belgian waffles. Just putting that out there now.


NY State Bans Texting, Gaming, Surfing While Driving [GamePolitics]