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Drivers on the Phone - Bad Idea

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Drivers on the Phone - Bad Idea

Gus Philpott
Woodstock Advocate
April 26, 2008

Should handheld cell phone conversations be prohibited while you are driving a motor vehicle? Two-three years ago I pitched the Woodstock City Council to establish a ban in Woodstock on the use of handheld cell phones by the driver of a moving vehicle. What reception did I get? I thought I was in a dead cell-phone zone! Silence. Not even a nod of a head from any one of the Council members.

An informal poll on AOL indicates that 65% of those voting are in favor of prohibiting such cell phone use. Admittedly, it’s not an unbiased poll. First you have to find it; then you have to be interested enough to click and vote.

Five states and Washington, D.C. now prohibit handheld cell phone usage by drivers of moving vehicles by State law. In other states certain cities are forbidding drivers' use of handheld cell phones. Many are already familiar with Chicago’s ban, which is being challenged in court began Hizzoner’s troops have not adequately posted signs alerting drivers to the law.

What states already prohibit cell phone use by drivers? California (effective July 2008), Connecticut, New Jersey ($250 fine!), New York, Washington (effective July 2008).

Some states also prohibit text-messaging by drivers. What kind of rocket scientist does it take to realize that a driver sending or receiving a text-message is not paying attention to driving the car? Why should a law prohibiting this even be necessary? Because a growing number of drivers are stupid enough to do it!

Next time you see a driver on the phone, watch out! This driver is distracted. You can judge the degree of distraction by the driver’s posture and involvement in the phone conversation. If the driver is animated, angry, gesturing repeatedly with the hand that is not holding the phone (who is steering the vehicle?!), also smoking, drinking coffee or soda, this is a driver heading toward an accident.

Be sure you are not in the way!

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