In either a brilliant move to curb texting-related accidents or a sign of the oncoming apolocalypse, depending on your outlook, the Western Australian government is trialling the introduction of designated texting bays for drivers who simply cannot resist checking their phone.
The South Western highway and Forrest highway in the South West and Peel regions of WA have been outfitted with five special areas that allow drivers to legally pull out of traffic and catch up on the group chat.
Road Safety Commissioner Kim Papalia spoke to the ABC about the initiative:
“It’s a siding on the side of the road that gives people the opportunity to get out of the traffic flow, get off the road, to park lawfully and then enable them to respond to what is a compulsion that people often feel in regard to checking their text message.“It’s trying to reach out to people who feel compelled to check their text message.“There is a clear message that the text can wait until it is safe to check it […] we do recognise that texting is an issue in this state and we’re taking active steps to see how we can mitigate that.”
The texting bay trial will run until April 28, after which the government will evaluate the effectiveness of essentially throwing their hands up and saying the equivalent of “fine, just do it in the house” re: texting on the road.
Or, you know, we could all agree to just leave our phones on silent and in the back seat while driving, instead of acting like the zero-second attention span perma-children we’ve all become.