Can you hear me NOW? *$^#@!

A state-wide new law banning hand-held cellphones while driving can’t be enacted soon enough for me.

I nearly got creamed while walking to my office this afternoon, by a woman driving a luxury sedan (I’ll not mention the make, as that would be reinforcing a stereotype) while, YES, holding her cellphone to her ear while making a right-hand turn on a red light.

In her rush to shave 2 whole minutes off of her travel time, she shaved a few years off of my and a few others’ lives, by lurching forward checking for oncoming vehicular traffic, while the pedestrians to her right were several steps into the crosswalk. Luckily I had a long roll of construction drawings in my hand, which I waved out in front of her to catch her eye before she swung full out into the turn. She jerked to a full stop, and I noted that although she did not end her cellphone conversation, she DID take time out of it to mouthe what appeared to be several curse words in our general direction. Niiiiice.

Now, one could argue that holding her cellphone was not the CAUSE of her negligent driving, but it seems reasonable to ME that driving involves the multi-tasking of several physical acts, and the less one engages in competing, extraneous ones (holding cellphones, applying mascara, etc..) that the more energy they can give to the IMPORTANT ones, like, oh, PAYING SOME #_@&-ING ATTENTION.

Rant out.

7 Comments so far

  1. pola (unregistered) on September 26th, 2006 @ 6:25 pm

    You know, tests have shown that there is no difference between holding a phone or having a wireless piece- Just the act of talking on the phone is what makes you bad driver. So, this law won’t do much.

  2. Robin (unregistered) on September 26th, 2006 @ 7:51 pm

    I heard on NPR a few weeks ago that driving while on a cellphone is just as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol. I refuse to drive without my headset (and a treo is just a big phone to hold up anyway), and I think they (headsets) make one helluva difference.

  3. Matt R. (unregistered) on September 26th, 2006 @ 8:07 pm

    Sorry, Pola, but the tests you mention are bullshit because common sense and half-keen observation make it quite apparent that it’s not the “talking” per se that is the only problem (whether wireless or not), nor the main problem, but is the punching of buttons and looking down and away while in the act of steering a vehicle and not paying attention to the road and surroundings.

    Just as someone on a cell phone in a public place or walking down the street is in his or her own private, self-centered, unaware world, so is the driver–and with an instrument that can kill people at the same time.

    Fuck yea, Gov! Thanks for signing that law. It’s about goddamn time–this law should have been in place 5 years ago, if not for the phone company lobby. Now let’s see if it actually gets enforced beginning in 2008. Enforcement of a good law like this will do much. Can those of us on foot, bicycles, and motorcycles survive another year of this recklessness? I hope so.

    Guess it’ll mean seeing more of these freaks who can’t live a moment without the cellphone leash and who wear those Star Trek wireless pieces in their ears all day. The stupidest look around these days.

  4. Mattymatt (unregistered) on September 27th, 2006 @ 9:50 am

    Matt R has a point: personal observation and anecdotal evidence are always far more valid than scientific study.

  5. Nancy (unregistered) on September 27th, 2006 @ 10:32 am

    MattyMatt, thanks for that link – an interesting study! I agree that engaging in active conversation is very distracting to drivers (I once took a very scary ride with a driver who felt the need to not only converse with the people in the back seat, but to MAKE EYE CONTACT with them as well!), and having the physical gadget in hand only adds to that.

  6. cd (unregistered) on September 27th, 2006 @ 10:56 am

    How ’bout comparing not one phone to another but the activity to another in the car. There is no statistically significant number of accidents caused by cellphones, hands-free or otherwise, over those caused by inattantion due to changing the radio, eating, looking in the mirror, those freaks who can’t converse with passengers without looking at them . . . .

    Nice band-aid solution, but there were plenty of laws on the books used to punish bad driving. This just helps fool people into thinking Schwarzenegger gives a shit about you or California a few weeks before an election.

  7. SFGary (unregistered) on September 27th, 2006 @ 11:52 am

    I feel a warm glow when others rant about the &*(^% cell phone user drivers. I don’t care if the problem is looking at the keypad or being distracted by the conversation – you have no F$%&ing business driving a potentially lethal weapon down the street or a freeway. I hope they make the penalty very expensive plus a moving violation.

    I used to drive across the GGB to a job in the NBay for a year and I was continually horrified at the brainless mofos talking on a cell phone, not only on the bridge, but on the fast lane.

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