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Monday, April 16, 2007

Comon sense in Washington State

At least they're doing something up there about irresponsible cell phone use while driving. Meanwhile, down here below the Columbia, the telephone lobby's too strong.

Comments (12)

They want to take my handsfree too. And may yet.

I realize the cell phones represent a hazard and I've encountered my fair share of dunces blowing blissfully unaware through stop signs and lights. But the two accidents I've been in have both involved people changing stations on the radio. If they're going to ban the handsfree, then they need to start taking a look at the radio too. Seriously. Where do you draw the line at "distracted driving"? Should we ban all conversation in the passenger compartment?

In the end, I wonder if it's simply a generational thing. If maybe the kids are (or will in ten years be) better than us old folks.

Of course it's all about distraction. Changing the radio, disk or tape while the vehicle is moving should also be a violation, as well as dialing a cell phone or holding it to your head while operating the vehicle.

"I can handle it" is the same thing the drunk drivers have said for decades.

Just another example of BIG GOVERNMENT getting even bigger. As with many growing laws that continue to oppress the people BIG GOVERNMENT tries to act as a nanny.

I use to think it was only Democrats that increased government oppression, but not any more. Republicans are just as guilty, and dumb Americans keep thinking all of these laws are good. Unreal.

As far as those that can't drive and use a cell at the same time they will still eat, brush their hair, put on make-up, yell at their kids, talk to passengers - and get into collisions. There will always be idiots in the world, but it's so wrong to let BIG GOVERNMENT get bigger thinking "they" can enforce common sense.

Welcome to 1984 - Oceania - where big government censors everyone's behaviour - next, our thoughts.

When your thoughts run someone over with a 3,000-pound bullet traveling at 60 miles an hour, let us know.

Thanks, Jack for calling this what it is; com(m)on sense.

Our legislature seems hopelessly corrupt, in the grip of major contributors. Just look at the flailing around on the bottle bill -- it's a major embarrassment. As for cell phone distraction while driving, just do your own survey. When you see drivers forget to signal, closing speed or distance, tailgate or otherwise break the rules of the road, notice how many of them are visibly on the phone.

"Should we ban all conversation in the passenger compartment?"

Sounds absurd (a useful form of argument often seen in this context). But there's an interesting analogy: federal regulations on the operation of aircraft for hire mandate a "clean cockpit" (by which they mean no extraneous chit-chat) at certain altitudes and at certain times during flights. Similarly, when you're driving a car, there are times when it requires your full attention.

You can't enforce a requirement that all distractions be avoided. You can enforce a ban on some of them -- like driving while visibly on a cell phone.

From what I've heard, studies show that it's the conversation - not the holding the stupid thing to your ear that causes the accidents.

Personally, due to my job, I deal with my CD, a pager, the cell phone and a GPS while going from job to job. I haven't had an accident in over 20 years.

There are distractions while you drive, your job - deal with them.

Have you ever dialed a teeny tiny cell phone while driving? I have. I support making that totally illegal.

"There are distractions while you drive, your job - deal with them."

i think of a different way:

"cell phone use is causing accidents, near-misses and fatalities - deal with it."

but if that doesn't fly, maybe we could also dispense with traffic laws that regulate how we drive--i haven't had an accident in 17 years, and they're getting in the way of my freedom.

I have been nattering on about this for nearly ten years, now.

The research has been out which, although not definitive, it tends to show that 'hands-free' cellphones are even more dangerous than handheld. The reason: Because the problem is the conversation. Having a 'hands-free' gave users the false impression that they could do things which handheld users could not. Consequently, they did dumber stuff.

What talking on the cellphone does is focus the attention of the user on an indeterminate spot in front of them. The result is that the effectiveness of peripheral vision plummets considerably. Most cellphone related accidents are t-bones, sideswipes and pedestrian/bicyclist crossings. Drivers just aren't paying attention to any potential situations coming at them from the sides. How does this compare to a passenger in the car? Well, the passenger can see what it occurring around the moving vehicle and adjust their verbal participation accordingly. The person on the other end of the call has no idea whatsoever as to what is occurring in the proximity of the car.

I'll agree that other distractions need to be monitored, as well. But, as noted, it's simple to see cellphone users compared to someone fiddling with the radio dial or changing CDs. I personally think that reading the paper, or a map, or a book, or applying makeup (all situations I have actually seen on the streets) while operating a motor vehicle should all be cited with existing law regarding reckless driving.

Eight years ago, when I confronted my state representative and state senator regarding this topic, and provided the then latest research available, all they did was smile and chant, "Mea culpa."

I also got read tired of hearing bozos tell me that they had every right to use a cellphone while operating a motor vehicle. However, since I've been nearly run over as a pedestrian by morons attempting to drive a stick shift and talk on a cellphone -- three damn times -- and been forced out of my lane and nearly off the freeway by cellphone-using drivers twice, I can see the difference between not being illegal and just being plain stupid. I've begun replying to such apologetics by noting that hitting oneself in the middle of the forehead with a ballpeen hammer while operating a motor vehicle is not specifically illegal, but it sure is f##king stupid. Such a law in Oregon is long past due.

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