So, starting next year, Californians will have to use hands-free technology if they want to talk on the phone while driving.
That makes sense to me. As long as I can legally make a call in an emergency, I�m fine with such a law. Welcome it, actually.
Answering the phone, dialing, and especially text messaging with regular, hand-held cell phones, all seem to me to be excessively distracting and therefore pose serious risks on the road.
As a matter of fact, I place texting right up there with applying makeup, shaving or reading the newspaper behind the wheel on my list of the top 10 stupidest things to do while driving. Reading maps, changing clothes and clipping toenails are right up there, too, as is a new phenomenon called �ghost riding� � a new take on the old, so-called Chinese fire drill.
In case you haven�t heard of this, it�s when a carload of dim-witted teenagers jumps out of a moving car and dances around it for a while. This is sort-of related to so-called �car surfing� � wherein kids hang off parts of a moving car while another kid drives it. Both are added proof that brain cells don�t fully function in people under the age of 25.
But since that type of behavior indicates either a death wish or a failure to fully evolve and can�t really be included in a serious discussion of realistic traffic laws, let�s get back to the cell phone situation.
I understand some experts are saying that even without actually holding the phone to your ear, just the act of being engrossed in conversation makes one dangerous on the road.
I read that at least one state is considering making talking while driving even on the hands-free cell phones illegal for this reason.
But this brings up a question for me.
How is being engrossed in conversation on a hands-free cell phone different or more distracting than being engrossed in conversation with the person sitting next to you in the car?
In fact, talking to the person in the seat next to you, or in the back seat, might be even more dangerous than talking on the hands-free cell phone, since during the course of the in-person conversation, one might be tempted to look directly at the person with whom they are speaking, thus taking their eyes off the road.
I don�t know, but it seems to me that if they�re going to pass a law making it illegal to talk even on the hands-free cell phones, and if safety is their motivation, they�re going to have to pass a law making it illegal to talk while driving, period.
There will have to be a behind-the-wheel babbling ban. Actually, to be on the safe side, we will have to forbid car-involved fun of any kind.
Listening to music or laughing while driving will have to be illegal.
I�m not sure how they�re going to enforce it, but babies crying in cars, back seat kid arguments, and driving under the influence of deep philosophical discussions or domestic squabbles will also have to be punishable offenses.
I think we may have to reconsider this whole thing. I don�t know about you, but the next time I see a passel of suicidal teenagers hanging from a moving car, I intend to make quick and pointed use my cell phone, legal or not.
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