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Schwarzenegger to Make Handheld Phones a No-No for Drivers

September 15th, 2006

Arnold Schwarzenegger is preparing to sign a bill in California that would make it illegal to drive while talking on a handheld cell phone, forcing motorists to hang up or use a hands-free device when talking. California will be the fourth state to inact such legislation on an issue that in my opinion is taking way too long to advance.

With that being said, I know the issue is tough, and I confess to being hypocritacal with this one. I talk on the phone while driving on occassion, though I try to keep the conversation short and to the point. And I’m guessing that most people fall in line with my thinking, which says “I’m the only one who can talk on the phone and drive well”. In honesty, I’m sure I’ve swerved the wheel while on the phone, and the drivers behind me were yelling the same thing I always yell.

To the facts…study after study has found that carrying on a conversation with a cell phone while driving dramatically decreases awareness at the wheel. The last study I read concluded that driving while talking on a cell phone is four times as dangerous as driving at while legally intoxicated. It’s also interesting to note that these studies have determined that a hands-free unit does not help, a factor which the bright folks in the California legistalture are ignoring. (I’m guessing they felt they couldn’t vote for all cell activity to be banned because their bluetooth headseats have been permanently attached by a plastic surgeon.) The issue is not driving with one hand, it’s a mental distraction issue. Folks with clutches and shift knobs have been driving with one hand for decades with no problems.

While I think the legislation is almost as bad as it could be, it’s still better than nothing. If nothing else, the potential $20 fine (ooo…scary) presents another reason for a driver to pull over to call, or wait a few minutes.

(This post was written with my Treo handheld while driving home from work…j/k ;-)

Tyson Politics, Technology

  1. September 16th, 2006 at 23:16 | #1

    Good points…but why are we just limiting legislation to cell phone use in the car? What about the infamous woman + make up + driving combination? You would think this is even more dangerous than cell phone use, but I’d be surprised to find a bill banning those actions while driving. (Can you imagine the poor guy that ever tries to introduce that bill?)

    But when they limit the ways I can use my cell phone in my car…I gotta ask what’s next? Eating while driving is dangerous. (Even the Cali dmv site says so…) Maybe we should only be allowed to have drinks (non-alcoholic of course) while driving…no solid food. But then again, those twist top bottles can be a hassle…ok only drinks with straws.

    I think the cell phones are just getting picked on for their stunning good looks…

  2. September 16th, 2006 at 23:22 | #2

    also just found this Michigan study from earlier this year that indicates simply talking to passengers is as dangerous as using your cell phone…so no talking in the car…period…starting…..


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