Thursday, March 02, 2006

Don't Talk To Me While I'm Driving

So the Washington Post featured a story about the DC ban on talking on a cell phone while driving. Maryland and Virginia are clamping down on this too by making it illegal for the young tykes to talk on the phone while driving (16 and 17 year olds in MD, 18 and under in VA), which really is just a first step to banning it outright. The empirical evidence given in the article such as things like the quantity of tow truck responses to accidents and insurance claims show that this law has had no effect on safety. Yet the police have given thousands of tickets. I understand that this helps DC gain more revenue, just like their speed cameras, just like their red light cameras. But Virginia, what is your excuse? Or Maryland? It's just another reason to take hard earned dollars out of my wallet. Alternative taxation if you will. And now they're talking about bannind hands free devices too. So I guess that means cops will be able to pull me over on Connecticut Avenue if they see me giving myself a pep talk because, gasp, I could have been talking on a hands free phone. In a way, I feel like I should talk on the phone more when I'm in the District limits as a form of civil disobedience.

Speaking of this, it reminds me of another traffic law crusade I was turned onto a couple years ago by listening to Adam Carolla. Left turn lights. Why do we have to stop at them if we're driving on empty streets at 3 AM trying to get home from wherever when there is very clearly no oncoming traffic?! If I can slow down, see clearly over all oncoming traffic lanes and no one is coming, I should just be able to go. There's really no point in me stopping and sitting there for the timed light to switch to a green arrow. I tried this crusade for about two months, no problem. I saved probably upwards of 7 to 8 minutes of my life by doing this, and I felt great. Then I got pulled over by Officer Friendly for this. I pleaded my case, said I was not a hazard to anyone, and that there was no good safety reason to be ticketing me. He ticketed me. After this incident, I stopped being civilly disobedient at left turn arrows (even though through my superior lawyerly skills I beat the ticket (See below)). So we'll see how long this cell phone civil disobedience goes...

* I showed up to court and the officer didn't. I beat John Law. Like a Drum. Like I said, superior lawyerly skills.

On an unrelated note, is anyone else hooked on Deal or No Deal, the hot new game show on NBC?!?! I can't get enough. I feel like the very first time I did a Sudoku puzzle and got hooked. This show is seriously Howie Mandel's best work since his masterful performance voicing Gizmo in both Gremlins AND Gremlins II (sadly snubbed for best actor for both of those films).


At 9:47 AM, Blogger Sleepy Girl said...

While I also don't agree with this specific cell phone ban, I DO agree with a ban on ALL cell phones (hands-free or not) while driving. This is because it is the act of speaking on the phone that is the distraction, not whether you're physically holding a phone or not. Having a phone conversation mentally takes you out of the car, and your reactions are going to be a lot slower (studies have proven this). So, it is really is a safety issue.

However, just banning hand-held phones sends the message that you're being safe as long as you use a hands-free device. This is the wrong message and I'm not surprise that the law hasn't had any effect on safety.

At 11:10 AM, Blogger The Virginian said...

How is talking on a hands-free any different than talking to the passenger in the front seat, or yelling at the kids in the back seat? I guess the next step is to make the car a silent zone. Ticketing for any talking at all.


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