General Question

jlm11f's avatar

What do you think about states banning talking on the cell phone while driving?

Asked by jlm11f (12378points) June 26th, 2008

Washington and California states decided to ban cell phone usage while driving (unless it’s hands free) starting July 1st. I believe there are other states with the same law. But research proves that going hands free doesn’t make it any less of a distraction, since it is the “conversation” that is distracting and not necessarily having both hands on the steering wheel. Would you be for a law that banned cell phone usage completely (hands free included)? I think it would be a good idea, and let’s admit, most of us have driven while talking at the same time. California is predicted to save 300 lives/year by instating the law.

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29 Answers

beast's avatar

I think it’s a good idea to ban, unless it’s an emergency call. They can’t just make up some zero-tolerance laws. There need to be exceptions, and emergency calls would be one.

jlm11f's avatar

@ beast – if a cop stopped you, i am sure if you tell him/her that your mother is in the hospital or any such emergency, they won’t ticket you for it. the same goes for other laws such as speeding.

chill_out's avatar

I agree that the conversation is more of a distraction than having one hand off the wheel. But to ban conversation with hands-free items is one step away from banning conversation with people in the car….

lefteh's avatar

In the words of Ellen DeGeneres, “If you need both hands to do something, chances are your brain should be in on it too.”

jballou's avatar

No, I don’t think banning cellphone conversations altogether is a good idea at all. But it would be an easy way for cops to write tons of new tickets and squeeze a little more revenue out of people.

I think people overreact to statistics. What’s to say a conversation with a person sitting next to you is less distracting then a conversation with someone on a hands-free? I don’t see the logic. Hell, in-car radios used to be illegal. Look how that law turned out.

robhaya's avatar

We’ve had that law in Chicago for a while now and I still see plenty of people talking on their cell phones while driving. I’m not sure how effective it is, but nonetheless a good idea.

jlm11f's avatar

@ jballou – that was also brought up and the notion is that having a conversation with a person sitting next to you is okay because you also have an extra pair of eyes looking at the road in front of you. so if the weather conditions are bad, or if something is going wrong, you have someone who can warn you while the person on the phone has no idea what’s going on in your surroundings (and will keep on blabbing).

chaosrob's avatar

I think it’s fine, if it’s enforced. Nothing wrong with headsets.

chill_out's avatar

Good point PnL

arnbev959's avatar

I think if you should be able to decide what you do while driving. If you’re able to talk on the phone and still drive, the government shouldn’t tell you that you’re not allowed to. If you go through a red light or break any other law while driving you should get a ticket.

I personally can’t concentrate drive and listen to music at the same time, so I don’t use the radio. Some people are able to; they should be allowed to.

Trustinglife's avatar

I can drive just fine while I talk on the phone. And I always use a headset. I like what Pete said, It should be a responsibility and self-awareness thing. If I know I’m not good at doing both at the same time, I shouldn’t, except in emergency.

I do like the hands-free law, since in CA I see so many people driving with one hand, and I think two hands is safer. And at least there would be more turn-signaling.

Personally, I drive alone a lot, and talking on the phone keeps me company and helps me stay happy. I don’t want that taken away.

buster's avatar

I think its a good idea. I have a 90 minute commute to work everyday. Everyday I encounter people making bad driving errors. A few have almost gotten me in an accident I glance over at these people and I would say 90% of them are yacking on there phones. Some of them have a phone to one ear and are gesticulating with the other. Who has the wheel? Getting in a car and driving is probably the most dangerous thing we do in our lives. I think drivers owe it to themselves and other people to be on the top of their game. Distractions such as phones, shaving while driving, (I saw a man with an electric shaver shaving on I-65 the other day) putting on makeup, watching movies while driving, and other things are really dangerous. I have been in a car accident before and was hospitalized and it was not pleasant. If you are responsible for an accident you also stand to lose a lot of money. That is what all those accident lawyers are for. I don’t use my phone when I drive and neither should you.

jlm11f's avatar

@ Tl & pete – it’s true that different people have different comfort levels while driving, but that does not mean that everyone understands and accepts their own levels and acts accordingly. also, driving is something that improves with experience, can we expect a 16 year old to be at the same comfort level as a 30 year old? (even though the 16 year old probably thinks he/she is a much better driver than the 30 year old). people should do what works for them the best but that doesn’t mean they do it.

gooch's avatar

Yes stop cell phone use. It is a dangerous distraction which can get others hurt also. Let’s also ban texting while we are baking stuff.

jrpowell's avatar

So you wouldn’t mind if I was drunk and driving behind you? As long as I don’t fuck up it is cool. Is that what you are saying?

marinelife's avatar

Despite the efforts of the cellular phone industry to muddy the waters, the statistics that are available are pretty clear: cell phones are a significant cause of accidents, handheld cell phones are less safe than hands-free cell phones.

Here’s just an excerpt:

” * According to PennDOT, from 2002 to 2006 there were 5,715 car accidents linked to the use of handheld cell phones in PA.
* PennDOT also reports 367 accidents in the same time period involving hands free cell phones or Bluetooth communication devices.
* In 2004 alone, handheld cell phone use contributed to over 1,170 Pennsylvania car crashes.
* Accidents involving talking or texting on a cell phone rose from 168 in 2003 to 228 in 2005 in the Western Pennsylvania region. That’s a 36 percent increase in over two years.”

PnL is right that young people are even more dangerous texting while driving—and not well, I might add.

I think we need a law to protect us from people like TL and petethepothead who are of the ‘everyone else may not be safe doing this, but I am’ mindset.

I think the laws are justified. There are also reasonably priced conversion options.

scamp's avatar

I was estatic when they passed that law here in New Jersey. It seemed like every time I saw someone do something idiotic behind the wheel, I saw a cell phone in their hand. And don’t get me started on texting!! Marina.. Great post!

tinyfaery's avatar

If I’m right, in CA cops will not pull you over for using your cell phone per se, but if you are stopped for some other reason, like getting in an accident or receiving a ticket, then you will be cited for using the phone while driving. But I could be wrong.

Knotmyday's avatar

I’m for no cell phones in the car whatsoever. As a matter of fact, I yearn for the days of the bakelite rotary, sitting at home like a good little phone should. If my job didn’t require it, I would take my blackberry and smash it with a rock.
Only downside- pay phones. Yeeeuck. But at least you had to park to use them.

Zaku's avatar

Dangerous stuff should not be done, and people should be educated so they know not to do it.

But LAWS are something else altogether. Especially laws that can’t easily be enforced in a reasonable way. Making it illegal is not the best answer.

arnbev959's avatar

@johnpowell : If you’re drunk you’re necessarily impaired. Not everyone who talks on the phone is.

@tinyfaery: That’s the way it should be.

TheHaight's avatar

The other day I was driving on the freeway, with my sister and grandmother. We nearly got hit by a big rig! And guess what? He was on his phone texting. I am for this law, because Of what I’ve experienced and seen and how distracting it can be.

jlm11f's avatar

@ what pete said – ironically, i read somewhere that talking on the phone has you as impaired as driving @ DUI level. i will try to figure out where i read that and post back….

lefteh's avatar

I see both sides of it. Having one here would definitely make me feel safer, but I will admit that I will often talk on my cell phone while driving. As in petethepothead’s situation, I feel that I am capable of safely operating my car while speaking on the phone. However, it’s clear that many people are not. A law here would make me feel safer, but I’d most likely routinely break it.

arnbev959's avatar

I think most people would routinely break it, which means most of what the law is doing is bringing in revenue to the government through tickets. (don’t get me started on seat belt laws)

Harp's avatar

It seems likely to me that all people on phones think their driving is “just fine” precisely because they’re unaware of the finer points of what’s going on around them. They don’t realize that they’ve missed their turn at the 4-way stop, so yeah, everything’s just fine. People on phones can’t judge the quality of their driving any more than someone who’s had a few too many can judge theirs.

jlm11f's avatar

thanks Harp, I was trying to say the same thing earlier but you and Marina always say it so much better :)

Val123's avatar

I think, “It’s about time!”

Ron_C's avatar

As a frequent driver and flyer, I am all for it. Even when the driver manages to stay in his lane, there are frequent speed ups and gradual slow downs. I am not sure why it happens, possibly because they go faster when they get good news and slow down when they get bored. Of course I have also seen people with books and newspapers resting on the steering wheel. They are even more frightening than the idiots that text while driving.

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