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Is It Time to Ban Cell Phone Use in Cars Nationally, or am I just being Cranky?

I’ve been nearly picked off 3 times by young women talking on cell phones while driving. The latest was in last week’s snow. As I’m about to pull out, I spot this small foreign car traveling at full speed. I slammed on the brakes, and watched as she tried to negotiate the turn into the shopping center I was pulling out of. She looked about 12, cell phone glued to the ear, and driving like an idiot in 3 inches of snow. She missed me by about a foot, but skidded a good 300 to 400 feet pulling double donuts. She regained control and drove back and in, never letting go of the cell phone for a minute. Another rear-ended me at the lights because she was on the cell. Had her license for 2 weeks. Am I missing something here? Or should we not be on phones while driving? My phone is shut off as soon as I get behind the wheel.
-capnlucerne

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Having a law on the books and getting people to actually function properly are vastly different. Technicaly there is already a law “careless driving” that is a catch-all and should be used by law enforcement more often.
…So which task is easier to result in safer driving ? Getting law enforment to nab more people for distracted “careless” driving, or getting the public to realize just how important this is ?
…wow, …big issue here and I agree with you, something needs done.

Because I Advocate Not Restricting Freedom In America, I Say No To A Law Banning Them …

… However, penalties for causing an accident because one was on a cell phone or practicing any other form of driver negligence should be severe. Examples must be made of some of these poor drivers to get the message out. We can’t legislate an end to stupidity and the number of laws needed to cover all the stupid things people do while driving would be prohibitive.

Create severe penalties, get the word out, and prosecute to the full extent of the law.

Oh, and if any negligent driver (cell user, hair styler, lip glosser, Whopper and Coke diner, etcetera) causes me to be in a accident, or any memeber of my family, and/or causes any injuries, there will be lawsuits involved.

Because I Advocate Not Restricting Freedom In America, I Say No To A Law Banning Them …

Would you vote to legalize drunk driving, except if you caused an accident? Would you legalize parking in the middle of the street.

There are all kinds of laws that we need because many people are just stupid.   Frankly I would like to see cell phones legal, only when getting directions for your current trip.  

I find it interesting that the latest study I have seen indicated that hands free and standard cell phones have about the same increased risk of accidents.

Joseph, The Reason I Say No To A Cell Phone Ban Is Because We Already Have Laws Covering Negligent Driving.

We have parking laws. We have impaired and drunk driving laws. We have careless and negligent driving laws. Those are fine. I agree with you.

It’s not that I think that people should use cell phones while operating a vehicle. I think it is stupid and extremely dangerous. Do we need a law against putting stamps in a collector’s album while driving? How about giving one’s self a pedicure at 70mph on the Interstate?

I just don’t think we can pass an individual law for each idiotic type of negligence that a driver can perform. Throw the book at them! Get the tailgaters, too!

I guess what I’m saying is that the laws are there, increase the penalties and enforce them. Come to think of it, I’ve already said that. Reread my previous comments.

Does that make sense?

Yes, cell phone usage while driving should be banned, simply because cell phones do distract a driver from the necessary tasks that he/she must perform while piloting a vehicle.

Many years ago, shortly after I got my first cell phone, I was stuck in a traffic jam on the way to work. Knowing that there would be clients waiting for me, and unsure of just how late I might be, I phoned my secretary to tell her that I was running late.

As we began to talk, the traffic jam began to clear and the traffic began to move at a fairly normal pace. And–guess what–because I was talking on the cell phone, I proceeded to drive right past the highway exit that I had been using every day for the preceding 6 years or so! As a result of missing my exit, I had to drive to the next exit on this limited access highway (Garden State Parkway), double back, and as a result of all of the additional miles driven, I arrived late at work. However, if I had not been talking on the cell phone, and had not missed my usual exit, I actually would have been on time! This one incident proved to me just how distracting a cell phone can be.

All of this being said, enacting a statute and enforcing it are two different things. When NJ enacted its “hand-held cell phone” ban a couple of years ago, a few communities had a ticketing blitz, and–literally–hundreds of traffic tickets were issued within a few days. However, that enforcement zeal has now apparently ended. Every day, I see countless drivers (probably about 80% female) driving while holding a cell phone to their ears. And, a distressing percentage of these drivers can be witnessed doing the most absurd, dangerous things while driving in that impaired state.

So, yes, a statute banning this unnecessary behavior is a very good idea, but unless local and state authorities actually enforce that statute, it is merely a paper tiger.

Driving is Not a right,it is a privilege.
Shut up and Drive.

I would like to see cell phones banned while driving, but I think the real issue is bigger than that. I would like to see tougher standards for getting a license. I would like to make both the written and driving tests harder and make the passing score higher. I would like to see people show proper respect for the dangers involved in operating a vehicle. Driver’s education should consist of more than just showing videos. Driver’s education should also be taught by educators, not former professional drivers. In many states, you can get a driver’s license when you turn 18 without taking driver’s education. Driver’s education is only required if you want your license before you turn 18. That should change. Driver’s education should be required for every driver. Making these changes would go a long way to solving the cell phone problem.

Ban cell phones and people will just get hands-free setups. The problem of inattention will remain. Besides, here in the Northeast where the sun sets early for much of the year, and much of the year is rotten weather, the cops wouldn’t even be able to see the drivers using the phones and they’ll just do it anyway. It’s not really an enforceable law.

I agree with Whitey that far better driver training is needed. People really don’t understand how quickly things happen and how long it really takes to respond. And they don’t understand how much of an impact inattention really has on response time. Perhaps some form of closed course where they can get the heck scared out of them would leave an imprint.

I agree with that. But is a privilege we are all untitled to, IF we follow the law.

"Ban cell phones and people will just get hands-free setups."
That becomes a solution…as now it’s no different than talking with some one in the car.

Cars are slowly moving to hands free with bluetooth/GPS options and hopefully soon as standard equipment . It will all lead to safer driving. It’s really cheap stuff, as hardware is already found in many cars . I don’t feel anything has to be mandated as long as it’s offered to the public for a reasonable price, they will choose to be safe…If too many local fools want to press the issue; I feel it becomes a state issue, not a national one. As stated before…it may already be addressed but police always like violations spelled out. I would defer to them, locally.

Using a hands free set-up is a little different from talking to someone who is in the car with you. A passenger will see the same things you do, so he or she will know when to pause the conversation. A passenger can see how you are driving and can choose to shut up until it appears safer to talk. Unless you tell them, people on the other end of the phone have no idea if you are driving or sitting in your living room. A passenger can also help you drive by pointing out a potential hazard in the middle of the conversation. A passenger can easily say “those roads look pretty slippery, so I think I will shut up and let you drive.”

By a vote of 37-6, the pate foie gras ban that Daley claims made Chicago an international laughingstock was repealed, thanks to a legislative end-run that set a new standard for violating protocol and rolling over the opposition.
There are people that have common sense and those that don’t. I have seen the cell phonaphiles that are oblivious to anything besides their conversation, and yes it bothers me, but I really wonder how much you can regulate. We have inattentive driving in our state as an offense, so if you get into an accident because you were talking on a cellphone that would apply. I really hate limiting personal freedoms for the greater good when laws are already in place, and can only view it as another source of revinue, and another intrusion upon freedom.

It’s time. We got nudged from the back while stopped at a light by a cell phone talker in an SUV. I have used a cell phone while driving but I just don’t feel that it is a good thing to do and can otherwise multi-task quite well.

Today we saw a lady using a cell phone while driving around 35 in the left lane of three lanes on a 45 mph speed limit road. She was not slowing for a turn as there was no place to turn.

A car full of “yackers” can be as disconcerting. Passengers can help, but the big offenders are often a hindrance.
Absolutely not will we outlaw hands free cell phone with voice command…it will become standard in my opinion.

It’s just like smoking in public buildings: People should have enough sense and manners not to do it. Manners often take a long time to learn, so we have laws in many places. I quit smoking in bars before the law was the way. I just looked at the red eyes of the other chess players and I had to stop, but not before putting some of the guys through hell. I knew better and finally started to care.

“Using a hands-free setup is a little different from talking to someone who is in the car with you.”

Absolutely! For instance:

  1. The driver can choose to initiate a phone conversation only during the low-demand “enroute” phase of a trip vs. a passanger who’ll pipe up whenever s/he feels like it.
  2. The driver can simply toss or shut off the phone–not so easy with a passenger.

There is absolutely no conflict between safe driving and cell use. After all, if a pilot can talk on the radio while moving 50 tons at 500 mph, surely I can while moving 1.5 tons at 50. It’s just a matter of discipline and prioritization (drive first; talk if circumstances allow).

meanjoe75fan, I guess we ride with different types of passengers. Your passengers seem to have poor manners.

I agree though with your comparison to airplane pilots. When the average driver receives the a comparable level of training as a pilot, is held just as accountable, and has the same focus on safety, I will trust the average driver to prioritize with the same level of competence. However, that isn’t what I see on the road. What I see on the road is people who fail to prioritize, or they prioritize the conversation over their attention to driving. Whether it is in person or over the phone, it is shameful behavior.

It isn’t realistic to expect the average driver to perform with the same level of competence as a pilot if the driver doesn’t receive similar training. Air planes don’t regularly fly in close proximity to one another and they don’t have to contend with pedestrians.

Is talking on a cell phone while you drive really a right? Driving isn’t even a right.

I agree that government can be too intrusive, and I agree that for areas where there applicable laws are already in place, this would be redundant. The only issue I have with your position is that what you describe as a “right” seems like a privilege to me.

The one thing that gets me about people on cell phones is, what the heck does everyone have to talk about that’s so darn important? Using cell phones while driving are outlawed here in Albuquerque, but people still do it. Yesterday I was following a woman driver who was driving while texting! TEXTING!

I’m one who believes that if you’re driving a car, that’s the ONLY thing you should be doing. A car is a lethal weapon people, remember that!