First – disclosures:
- My company depends on the wireless (“cell phone”) industry for its survival.
- I use my cell phone while driving, but only on the open, uncongested highway. (I have a stick shift, so anything else would be insanity, IMHO.)
So you may feel that I have a vested interest. But I am NOT trolling. I am interested in having an honest debate on this subject and feel that the TM will surely expand my thinking. (Even as I fear you will all rip me to shreds!)
OK, now back to the subject…
A number of communities are considering enacting laws that will prohibit (make it a crime) for people within their boundaries to use their mobile phones while in control of a moving vehicle (i.e. driving). Yet nearly every day when I drive on the highways and roads to/from work I see people doing any number of other things that seem just as potentially distracting: shaving, applying make-up, eating, dropping cigarettes, READING A BOOK OR THE NEWSPAPER! (placed strategically open across the steering wheel!), arguing with their SO, digging their toll fare out of their purse/wallet, yelling at their kids, driving with a big dog in their lap, etc., etc. And yet, AFAIK, there are no laws against these specific activities.
It seems to me that phones are not the culprit, but inattentive drivers/bad judgement. Shouldn’t the “crime” be inattentive driving, whatever the cause, and not just cell phones?
I know research has been done that says drivers talking on their phones are more likely to be in or cause an accident, so I’m not saying that all drivers are completely attentive when talking on their phones, but-
- Has any research been done on these other activities causing accidents? Why not?
- Should all cell phone users be punished for the transgressions (stupidity) of the minority?
- Don’t the existing laws on driver responsibility (obligation to be attentive, etc.) already cover this territory?
I think it might stem from latent resentment of the (no longer valid) stereotype of “yuppies and their damned cell phones in their BMWs”. (FYI - The fastest growing groups of mobile phone users are moms and kids. There are now nearly 80 million mobile phone subscribers in the USA.)
(P.S. I totally HATE people who talk loudly on their phones in restaurants or other places or who let them ring in the theatre/church/concert/etc. I’m a big proponent of cell phone etiquette, but that’s another thread, and probably more suited to the BBQ Pit.)