Touching Your Earpiece Violates Driving-While-Yakking Law?

from the define-hands-free dept

There are plenty of places that have so-called “hands free” laws, requiring drivers to use a hands free kit with their mobile phone while driving. Leaving aside the debate (and there is a big one) over whether or not using an earpiece instead of holding the phone is any safer, it appears that in some areas, they take the “hands free” part extremely seriously. A man who was using an earpiece while driving, but who was touching the earpiece was fined for violating the law. After all, he was holding the phone piece up to his ear. At least that’s what the judge decided in the latest appeal to the fine. The judge noted that the guy “was using a mobile telephone which was hand held,” thus violating the wording of the law. The guy in question isn’t particularly happy, and is thinking of appealing again.

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Comments on “Touching Your Earpiece Violates Driving-While-Yakking Law?”

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G Johnson says:

Touching Story

“What about the people who drive with poodles in their lap, truckies eating pies, people smoking, and women who put lipstick on while they’re driving,” he said.

They too increase risks. The law could be less techy targetted.

Still, what obscures vision is not the ear piece, but the talker’s flapping mouth piece.

Ricky M says:

Legislate My A$$

Pretty soon we are going to be told which hand it is ok to wipe ourselves with. Since automobiles have been invented there have been distractions because you no longer have to hold on to the saddle to keep from falling off.

Common sense is what is needed but unfortunately some people need a little help in this area!

justplainjess says:

Re: Legislate My A$$

Unfortunately the hand/wiping legislation efforts are already underway… Here’s part of a Chicago Tribune article on a nearby suburb reviewing ordinance language… link is below as well. ———–

Attention, Winnetka drivers: Put down your cell phone, iPod, drink and shaver

By Lisa Black
Tribune staff reporter
Published March 14, 2006

If you’re reading this article while driving in Winnetka, stop now.

Also, put down the coffee cup, turn off the cell phone and stop twiddling the radio.

“Distracted driving” could be outlawed in the affluent North Shore community under a proposal that could set a precedent in Illinois.

The cell phone has received much of the blame for bad driving recently, but research has shown that other activities–adjusting a radio, eating or talking to a passenger–are more often cited as contributing to a crash.

With that in mind, Winnetka Police Chief Joseph DeLopez has recommended banning a range of driver distractions, including talking on a phone, operating a radio or game, attending to pets, passengers or cargo, grooming, eating or drinking. The Village Council is to discuss the proposal Tuesday.

Trustee Sandra Berger said she thinks it “makes a lot of sense.”

“It scares me the way some people are driving. As adults we should be setting the example for our children. … Fixing their iPods, putting on makeup or eating a sandwich–that’s bizarre,” she said.

It’s not clear how the law would be enforced. Berger said it was her understanding that police would not prowl intersections waiting for commuters to hoist their travel mugs.,1,5722277.story

John says:

Re: Re: Legislate My A$$

This is all just rediculous. If it is your fault for the crash, you carry the liability, you pay for it. I don’t care what you are doing to cause a crash. Of the two accidents I’ve been in (neither of them caused by me) the other driver was not talking to anyone, they weren’t on the phone, doing their hair, adjusting the radio. They were, simply put, bad drivers. One was worried about packing and getting out of town for a vacation. The other was in town (on vacation) looking for a particular street. Why do we feel the need to consistantly legislate that which has either already been legislated or completely unecessary? Why don’t we concentrate on appropriately applying the existing laws?

Moogle says:

Re: Legislate My A$$

“you no longer have to hold on to the saddle to keep from falling off.”

Having fallen asleep on a moving horse, I can personally attest that the real difference here is that the horse is smart enough not to run into stuff and follow a trail.

Now, technology is slowly but surely moving in the same direction for cars as well. Right now it’s just smart cruise control that beeps at you. Eventually cars will drive better than people. But will we trust them? *shakes 8ball* Outlook not good.

Shoal Creek says:

Re: Legislate My A$$

Having grown up on a beef cattle ranch, I would trust a distracted horseman any day over a distracted driver. My family has owned horses that were well enough trained that they would herd the cattle almost by themselves–all they needed was a saddle, a bridle, and a 6 year old kid holding on tight to the reigns and saddle horn. Despite not trusting distracted drivers, I still think that cities, counties, states and the Feds are ripping off the American people and destroying the Constitution with almost every new piece of legislation, including all of these distracted driving laws.

Abdiel says:

Re: 2 Hands Law

I think that’s a little idealistic. Nobody concentrates only on driving when driving. I do a lot of daily planning and thinking about a hundred of other things while driving and so does everybody else.

What’s next. Requiring an “invisible cone of silence” to divide you from any passengers so you won’t be “distracted” by talking to them?

Most of the problems I’ve seen come more from people doing stupid things like trying to dig a ringing phone out of a purse or pocket or trying to dial or text while driving. Once the call is being made I don’t see how talking on a phone, whether hand held or not is really any different from what we usually do while driving.

haywood says:

Re: Re: 2 Hands Law

I disagree strenuously that “Nobody concentrates only on driving when driving”. I do, many people I know do. I encounter you and your tribe on a daily basis, and it is you and your kind that have made driving a dangerous business. No matter how many safety devices they require on a vehicle, the accident rate goes up each year. Driving is serious business, and deserves your undivided attention. Lest you think I’m a Volvo owner cowering, terror stricken behind the windshield, I’m a BMW owner who truly enjoys driving and uses cell-phone talkers for pylons.

Your conscience says:

Re: Re: Re: 2 Hands Law

You’ve got to be kidding me. You drive and completely pay attention to what you are doing. Do you ever have to look at a map, change the radio, think about work, play, spouse problems…..

It is not the cell phones, more crashes are caused by over aggressive drives like you. Based on your comments (pylons) you are the one zipping in and out of traffic causing others to avoid you.

That is the general problem with this entire topic. Everyone thinks that their way is the correct way to drive. The law needs to be adjusted but not abolished (not quite sure how), it is relative to the driver. We need some method of finding the stupid drivers (i.e. lane shifters, lap dog drivers, or just plain bad drivers), and revoke driving privileges until further training is done.

haywood says:

Re: Re: Re:2 2 Hands Law

“more crashes are caused by over aggressive drives(sic)like you” I think not!! I never cut anyone off or even pull out in front of them unless my acceleration capabilities assure that they won’t be inconvenienced at all. That IMO what make for a courteous and safe driver. Really good drivers are unnoticeable, they flow through traffic like a knife through hot butter, all this, in-spite of the head up their ass crowd which has grown exponentially since the advent of the cell-phone.

Concerned RIDER says:

Re: Re: Re:3 2 Hands Law

The problem with people that follow your line of thinking, the “my car is fast/agile enough to get me out of trouble” is that they CAUSE the trouble for others. What happens when you cutoff grandma in her Buick because your “acceleration capabilities” allow you to not inconvienience her and she slams on her brakes? Well the other BWM driving, self-righteous jerk following too close behind her whips over to pass her on the right hand side and sideswipes my sportbike at 65 mph. I head to the hospital while he complains that I came out of nowhere. Replace my sportbike with a van full of nuns/schoolchildren if you’re of the thinking that a full-face helmet and leathers makes you irresponsible and dangerous.

There’s a reason I don’t let myself be anywhere close to BMWs, Hondas with coffee-can exhausts, or Black SUVs with Blond female drivers… you never know what these inconsiderate, self-important jackasses are going to do next. Is that a bit prejudiced? Sure it is, but I’d rather be a bit prejudiced in picking who I ride near on the road than picking bits of asphalt out of my posterior or pushing up dasies.

Thanks for making the roads more dangerous to all around you… and I hope I’ll never have to use my bike’s FAR SUPERIOR acceleration capabilities to save myself from a delusional fool like yourself (but I’m glad they’re there just in case).

If you want to really be a better driver (not in the track sense, but in the “not going to kill fellow citizens” sense) get a bike and ride it for a month. You’ll be amazed at just how quickly you can pick out the “dangerous” people on the road (like yourself). Once you recognize this, you’ll surely become a more considerate, safer and yes BETTER driver.

Plyons are for the track…

Nismoto says:

Re: Re: Re: 2 Hands Law

“and uses cell-phone talkers for pylons”…

Sounds like YOU are the accident waiting to happen. I hardly doubt that you or anyone else can give driving their undivided attention.

Pick you nose, scrath your balls, talk to your passengers, think about work, think about those retarded cell phone users, etc. while driving? I bet you do, you hypocrite!

ConceptJunkie (profile) says:

In the future...

… i.e., now, no one will be able to remember, understand or even be aware of all the absurd legislation being constantly dumped on us. The police will be able to stop anyone for any reason and find a violation at will. Contempt for the law will increase (look what that stupid National Speed Limit did) and not just the dumb laws, but the important ones… the ones that actually do help keep us safe.

This is the world we have created by allowing our country to evolve towards a Nanny State, and it’s just getting started.

Our legislators are trying to legislate common sense (as stated in an above comment) which is about as likely and feasible as real AI. They won’t stop until they have us legally reduced to robots following a script to do everything.

Lion XL says:

Re: In the future...

and your answer to the problem is?…..

as has been stated some people lack common sense( or have an abundance of common stupidity), so those of us that understand if you 65 mph while trying to look up granny’s phone number on that 2″ screen is bad, what should we do? get mowed down by the idiots? Unfortunatly laws sometimes have to be passed to protect the stupid people from them selves as well as saving others.

The laws however need to be more specific and distinct so the police officers, (some of whom have an abundance of common stupidity) don’t get caught tryng to understand a law beyond thier capability.


Anon says:

I agree...

I always feel uncomfotable when I’m a passenger in a car and the driver is on the phone. At least if they are talking to me, my eyes are watching the road too and can alert them to upcoming hazards.

I also agree about other causes of crashes, but the law should really focus on dangerous drivers. If you can’t drive while smoking, then you either haven’t been smoking long, or you’re aleady a horrible driver.

RW (user link) says:

Re: I agree...

RE: Smoking

You can be a lifetime smoker and still drop your cigarette in your lap… THAT will always be a major distraction.

I think that the person who brought up common sense was dead on. It is my opinion that in 99.9% of cases none of the folks in this conversation who obviously display some social insight and self-awareness have the ability to exercise common sense. I doubt you will ever fall victim to these laws. These laws are intended for the 0.01% of the population that doesn’t have this built in already. That is what laws are for. To make sure that the few do what the many already understand is common sense.

Yes, there are folks that think that a vehicle is 1) a makeup counter 2) a reward for a teenager 3) a pet store or 4) home away from home but some of us actually use it for transportation and, if necessary, business. I’m not worried about adults with phones as much as I am teenagers with phones… they need to learn how to operate a car responsibly before trying to do both… Anyway I digress… Common Sense and moderation… If you have to put on your makeup do it at a stoplight. If you need to check your map pull over. If the conversation is taxing your ability to concentrate on what you are doing either pull off the road or end the conversation. Put the pet in a carrier. Put a GPS in your kid’s car that tells you their speed – or e-mail’s you if they exceed a certain MPH. (link) Moderation. Common Sense.

Devin says:

Concentration while driving?

#10, do you not drive with passengers? Do you use the radio in your car? Do you adjust your heater?

Have you ever had a child throw their mcdonalds toy down by your feet while you drove?

I have, and I also think about my day and what I’m going to be doing with my day while I drive. Am I completely aware of my surroundings? Yes. I’ve never gotten in a wreck nor had a ticket in my 10 years of driving. I can walk and chew bubblegum.

I concentrate on driving, but unless someone told me that my parents had been murdered over my bluetooth car headset, my driving would not be affected.

Lion XL says:

Re: Concentration while driving?

Devin…I think your misguided. The actions you mentioned take miniscule amounts of thought and are mostly momentary actions, if not mostly involuntary.

Thinking about your day, planning, those actions take place mostly in our subconcious and normally do not have an impact on our conscious thoughts(driving).

I am not sure about you guys, but casual talking never seemed to take much of my concentration(unless I can’t hear properly or Im taking notes or something). But holding a earpeice and trying to hear to the other end(I assume thats why he holding the EARPEICE, cuz he couldnt hear properly)

most likely would affect my concentration on driving.

And there will be exceptions to the norm, but do you want to be the guy rear ended by some fool who couldn’t do both?

Claire Rand says:

Silly Rules - for things already covered by other

I would have thought all this sort of legislation is not really required. I mean the ‘driving without due care’ law is a bit of a catch all really, it covers this sort of thing already.

this is more a ‘we must be seen doing something’ law, oh and typically a nice way of having a fine as well.

at the end of the day govs should focus on effects not cause, i.e. if you do something that has an effect on your driving *thats* a problem, as opposed to trying to write rules to cover specific causes, e.g. mobile phones, while trying to word them not to catch other things.

at the mo in th UK its apparently legal to use a calculator while driving, well there is no law banning it… which is almost the way it should be, do what you like if your driving is ok.

as an aside this allows idots who can’t drive to be pulled and handled without needing to witness them breaking a specific rule.

Skippy T. Mut says:

You're all forgetting one important part

This law has nothing to do with traffic safety, public well-being, or anything else even remotely related to helping any of us in any way. This law exists for the sole purpose of making money. The states that have enacted these ridiculous laws simply needed a legal way to rip off the American public even more than they were already. As if it’s not bad enough they can steal money right out of our paychecks now they want to tell us what we can and can’t do with our hands while we drive. This is insane and it’s only going to get worse as shown by this story. The judge that imposed this fine should be removed from his position IMMEDIETLY because he is not doing anything even remotely productive if he has time for this crap. Anyway, my point is this: WHEN YOU CAN STAND UP AND SAY THERE HAS NOT BEEN ONE MURDER, OR ONE RAPE, OR ONE ASSAULT, OR ANY OTHER VIOLENT CRIME COMMITED ANYWHERE IN YOUR STATE, THEN YOU CAN START TO THINK ABOUT LAWS REGARDING CELL PHONE USAGE IN A CAR. GET YOUR PRIORITIES STRAIGHT YOU STUPID REPUBLICAN BONEHEADS!

Denis says:

Re: You're all forgetting one important part

Skippy, you’re not making sense (I don’t want to use other adjectives that aplly). Vehicular manslaughter is pretty freaking violent. And it happens when people yak on their cell phones. I’ve been nearly sideswiped, rear ended and ran off the road more than once by various vehicles (semi trucks included) and every time I when I manage to drive next to them and throw a glance in the car they’re yakking on the phone.

By your logic we shouldn’t have ANY new laws until the current ones work. No laws on clean air. Why? People are still speeding. No laws on arson. Why? People are still getting murdered.

Get real.

lar3ry says:

Investigation vs Prevention

For some reason, people think that it is the responsibility of our police to prevent things from happening, rather than investigate what actually happened. It’s the difference between peace officers (like the sheriff of Mayberry) who don’t need to carry guns and police officers (again, tell me why traffic enforcement officers are required to carry weapons? If they didn’t carry weapons, the bad guys wouldn’t feel a need to do so, either.)

We give the police the authority to enforce stupid laws by looking inside people’s vehicles to see what is happening. Now, I agree that idiots using cell phones are distracted, but I argue that the police themselves are being distracted by having to look inside each and every vehicle for a number of possible violations (not just cell phones, but whether or not people are using seat belts, if the person driving may or may not be old enough to drive, etc.). Doesn’t this requirement on our police make the police themselves a danger to other motorists?

For that part, why have I never seen a policeman pull another police car over for speeding or using a hand-held device to communicate on their radio? The police are not above the law, and they only have the authority to ignore such safety laws when they are in hot pursuit… which means they need to have their lights on. However, it’s a fact of life that our police will not pull over a fellow officer (and even if he does when the person is off-duty, a single wave of a badge will let the off-duty officer off without even a warning), just like a Republican congress will not censure a Republican president that willfully breaks the law.

Welcome to Real Life.

“Hey, you! Wearing that paisley shirt while driving is a distraction. Fork over the $100 fine…”

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Investigation vs Prevention

The funny thing about if the “traffic cops don’t carry guns the criminals won’t feel the need to carry them also” is laughable. For instance, within 48 hours of the gun ban in Aussie, armed robery went up 2000%. For the criminal’s point of view there is less of a worry about getting shot, therefore less deturant on committing the crime. Cops know for a fact they cannot assume anything about anyone, they have to approch everyone that they pull over as someone who could shoot them. I hate the fact that this is a case. I would love to keep the guns out of the criminal’s hands, which most already have a felony and “Legally” are not supposed to have any access to any firearm, but they can go some places and still get weapons.

As to phone usage, it’s laughable. I’ve seen more reports of people in accidents droping their food and drinks, burning themselves with cigarettes, and playing with their cd’s. So why isn’t the government going after the fast food drive-thru people and the IRAA for makeing driving distractions. I still feel safer driving next to someone who is on the phone then someone who is talking on the phone, eating a burger, drinking a soda, smoking, and putting on lipstick at the same time. It still comes down to paying attention. People that do too much at once shouldn’t be on the road… Bring on the computer driven cars!!

RenderingSanity says:

no real subject, just a rant

The first time I ever used a cell phone while driving I totalled a vehicle. Which wasn’t my fault really because the accident was caused by an on coming trucks’ lugnut bolts snapping and the whole freaking wheel hurtling itself over the hill I was on in the dark and demolishing the front of my girly ford focus.

My conversation consisted of “Hey anna I gotta call you back I’m drivi–OMFG I hit something *muffled through airbag* I have to call you bac-*hangup pull over*”

Reguardless, I am still wary of using the cellphone while driving but that taught me the lesson that most of the time you’re in more danger from other distractions or freak accidents then a cell phone conversation..

VPR says:

“Everyone is doing it” is hardly justification (I can’t belive someone actually said it). I have yet to hear of a status quoemus where scores of your fellow drivers join you in traffic court in which their testimony overrides any established traffic law. Sorry, but numbers only count during voting season.

Here’s some general stats for you…

Annually, 6 million accidents happen in which 3 million involve injuries (2 million of those being permanent).

A large percentage is because of eating or drinking while driving, and 25% of car accidents are caused due to talking on the mobile phone while at the wheel of the car.

Spartacus says:

rip on republicans all you want...

Go ahead and get mad at republicans all you guys want, but to those of you who complain about how “The Government” or “The State” rips people off and only want’s their money, it’s the republicans who are trying to repeal those tax laws and let you keep your money. Now if you have other issues with republicans (ie conservative morals) feel free to complain and whine and cause a ruccus, but just remember… republicans are the ones who want YOU to keep YOUR money. If you disagree go take a college level economics class and look at the republican platform regarding taxes.

Denis says:

Re: rip on republicans all you want...


You must be living in a hole somewhere. All registered Republicans I know, and I know a few, agree that the CURRENT Republican party can’t be farther from conservative.

We have the biggest budget deficit ever and the national debt is skyrocketing again. And Republicans want to cut taxes and have me and my children pay for it when the Democrats get into the office? Is that it? For all the bad that happened during the Clinton administration, they managed to pull out a surplus and halt the growth of national debt. So the correct statement is the Republicans want ME to keep MY money NOW, but I’ll have to pay THAT SAME MONEY with compound INTEREST tomorrow.

geekboy says:

Re: Re: rip on republicans all you want...

Just FYI, we are reaping the rewards (if you want to call them that) of what the previous administration put into place. The economic laws that the sitting administration puts into place don’t actually have an effect (usually) until long after they are out of office. Clinton was just riding the wave of what Reagan implemented in the 80’s.

jen says:

Re: Re: rip on republicans all you want...

Please remember the budget surplus was brought to you by a REPUBLICAN CONGRESS, NOT the Clinton Administration. This is not a bash on Clinton, please don’t take it as such; but if you recall, the Republicans took control of Congress in 1994, 2 years into the Clinton Presidency because of voter’s fears over the deficit.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: rip on republicans all you want...

actually, no…. because the taxes dollars are cut, and those that are collected are not going to the actual states that send them up, but instead to fund W’s moral crusade against the middle east, cities, townships, and counties are short millions of dollars and having to do weird things like this to try and fund the police, roads, water, etc. infrastructure costs.

Someoine has to pay bills. Just not the R’s I guess.

anonymous says:

Re: rip on republicans all you want...

Go ahead and get mad at republicans all you guys want, but to those of you who complain about how “The Government” or “The State” rips people off and only want’s their money, it’s the republicans who are trying to repeal those tax laws and let you keep your money.

Um, excuse me, but my name does not appear on any currency in the U.S.A. I’ve never claimed it was my money. We need a government to do things that the citizens cannot no on their own. We need to have people watching out for us, whether it be by providing a strong military to defend the country, providing police and a judicial system to find criminals and put them to justice, and providing the people that make sure that the food we eat and the medications we take are safe. To do this, we also need a treasury department to provide the currency for which we do our commerce and to collect money from the citizens to provide these essential services.

For this reason, I have no desire the repeal those tax laws. The only ones that want this are the people that have a lot of money and refuse to do their part in participating in running of this country. These people are so into themselves that they refuse to see that they have themselves benefited from the services that they claim to despise in getting their money in the first place. It is not YOUR money at all, and claiming that it is only shows a fundamental ignorance or disregard for civics.

Joe says:

Stress the hands free

I think that incident was rather bogus, and that the law is very biased toward cellular distractions, but it is for a good cause. I was behind this woman in traffic the other day, with her SIDEKICK out, not talking, oh no, text messaging, with her 8 fingers gripping the wheel and her thumbs punding away, not even looking at the road! Get these people out of the driver’s seat.

Dave Mackmiller says:

Just use common sense

Next time you pull up to a busy intersection with stop signs at all four corners, notice which drivers procede out-of-turn or run the stop sign altogether: the ones with the cell phones.

When you’re eating, changing the radio, shaving, etc in the car, these activities can be temporarily suspended to attend to matters of traffic that require attention. Not so with cell phones. How often do you hear, “Hang on a second, I’ve got to merge on to the highway?”

I use my cell phone in the car, but I also use common sense.

MJP says:

Literal interpretation, eh?

Maybe then holding it up with your sholder is OK? As the law states; “Hands free”, right??

Give me a break, I know “holding the phone” is dangerous, in fact I feel less in control when I use the phone that way, rather than with my hands free headet.

But come on, what’s the difference then between having a headset on and touching it while speaking, and scratching your ear while talking to someone in the passenger seat. Next there will be a fine for that!!!!

Kate (user link) says:

I live in state with a no-cell-phone-while-driving law, and since this law was passed, I’ve become even more of a dangerous driver, because now when I talk on my cell phone, I also have to be on the lookout for cops who might pull me over. Talk about being distracted! (Kidding!)

But in all seriousness, I had my cellphone on speakerphone and I picked it up off my lap for just a second to adjust it, and a cop in an SUV happened to be looking down inside my car. He pulled me over and was seconds away from writing me a ticket, when he got called away on an emergency. I thought I was obeying the cell phone law, but apparently, I wasn’t. So I can kind of relate to this guy.

I think they should outlaw having passengers next.

ag05 says:

what other types of phones are there?

“The judge noted that the guy ‘was using a mobile telephone which was hand held,’ thus violating the wording of the law”

Does anyone know of a portable phone that is not handheld? Even a “hands free kit” requires “hands” at some point to dial or answer unless you enable auto answer, but then who wants to auto answer everyone that calls. Most women don’t like to answer unknown numbers.

Anonymous Coward says:

The law is wrong, the judge is right.

The law is stupid. Studies have shown that the distracting element is the phone conversation, not the act of holding a phone in your hand. Having a conversation with someone who is not present in the car leads to distraction because

(a) the person on the other end doesn’t have any idea what kind of driving situation you’re in and can’t quiet down if things get hairy.

(b) we feel a social obligation to maintain the conversation that would not usually be present for reasons similar to a. It would not be rude to stop talking while negotiating a particularly dangerous intersection but because the person on the other end doesn’t know what we’re doing we avoid the pause.

But, the judge was right. If a law is passed (however stupid) that prohibits hand held phones, holding a device, whether attached to the phone or the phone itself is a violation of the spirit of that law.

Swamp Thingy says:


I agree with the comment above — it is the act of talking on the phone that is distracting and not the act of holding a cellphone to your ear with one hand while holding the steering wheel with the other. How many people do you know who drive with the standard both hands on the wheel at the 10 and 2 position? Give me a break.

Either ban cellphones completely or don’t. This middle ground is just a way for the cellphone makers to keep making money on phone calls and hands-free devices and local communities to clean up with $150 cellphone tickets that usually don’t even cost points on your license.

It’s a sham!

haywood says:

I was riding dikes when you were a gleam in your father eye. I also drove professionally more than a million miles. I don’t cut people off period. As i stated before if anyone else has to make course or speed corrections due to your actions, you are part of the problem. Spirited driving isn’t about cutting people off, it is about getting along at a fair pace without unconvincing other drivers or pedestrians in the slightest.

Still Concerned RIDER says:

Re: Re:

Ah the second fallacy of the self-righteous … I know better than you because I am older / have more experience / whatever.

It’s laughable how that’s exactly the response one should expect from a BMW driver! Not suprising that when I’m out riding they’re (BWM riders) the only ones that won’t shoot the “biker wave” back at me. It’s the same “I’m better than you” mentality manifesting itself.

I also hope that “professional driver” means something other than “Chicago cabbie.” Besides, your alleged ability to get around a racetrack has nothing to do with the saftey implications of overly-aggressive driving on the public roadways.

David says:

Re: Haywood

Use me as a Pylon and you are looking at the divider. You are an agressive driver by your own words. Not to say that I am NOT but saying you use cars with drivers on cell phones as pylons proves it. THe fact that you think you arent haveing an affect on another driver because you feel you had enough room and enough acceleration in your $40,000 car to make your move without affecting another driver is complete and total BS. You arent in the car with that driver. People react differently, just becasue YOU think you had the room, dosent mean HE/SHE thinks you do and they will act accordingly. I am an aggressive driver but I dont try to kid myself about it. Talking on cellphones is dangersous, aggressive driving is dangerous. Pick your poison and stay out of way.

Anonymous Coward says:

A “hands free” law completely misses the point. Using any sort of communications device, hands-free or not, is massively distracting, even more so than speaking with someone in the passenger’s seat.

Why might this be the case?

Most human beings have little insight into what their brains do during communication. Since we evolved to speak with people in our immediate environment, our brains have a dependence on the non-verbal information that such contact offers. We automatically search for facial expressions, body language, gestures, and even clues about context from the environment. (For example, contrary to most people’s intuition, human emotions are fairly generic states of excitation that even the experiencing individual names according to the situation’s context.) Deprived of vital context by the telephone’s voice-only interface, our brains take up the slack by generating an internal context. In other words, we create an internal simulation of what the person on the other end of the line is doing while he or she is speaking.

This should come as little surprise, since the basic nature of human intelligence is the creation of internal simulations. These simulations may take the form of pre-planning, daydreaming, empathy, mental arithmetic, or countless other commonplace examples. An especially pertinent example here is the internal simulation we create while driving. While we drive, we maintain a internal image of where our car is in relation to the road, where other cars are in relation to us, where we are in relation to our destination, the positions and speeds of potential obstacles or pedestrians, and so on. Although we need to update the information behind this simulation constantly (looking through our windshield and mirrors), this internal simulation is still vital to preventing accidents.

Now, is it any great surprise that one complex internal simulation (the context of someone on the other end of the phone) might INTERFERE with another complex internal simulation (driving)? If you’re giving 50% of your attention to the telephone, you’re only giving 50% of your attention to the road. In which case, you are endangering your own life and the lives of everyone around you.

If you really want to commit suicide, there are far more effective ways to accomplish it. If you really want to commit homicide, you should be captured and imprisoned like the criminal you are. As such, all telephone use while operating a motor vehicle should be prohibited, with penalties equivalent to those used for those who drive while intoxicated.

titan says:

Put the damn phone down and drive!

Funny… the same people who think the legislation is ridiculous are the same people I blow my horn at everyday because they are so involved in their very important phone conversation they are oblivious to everyone around them and won’t get out of the way. You think you are getting so much done by driving and talking at the same time, but if you would just pay attention to your driving you would get to your destination so much faster ( and safer ) and then you would have time to make your phone calls. The Constitution of the United States basically says you can do whatever you want as long as you are not endangering other people, and it is a proven fact that cell phones cause more traffic accidents.

RW says:

BMW, bikers, SUV's -- who cares!!!

BMW, bikers, SUV’s — who cares — a bad driver is a bad driver even if they are Grandma in that freakin’ Buick. Listen, you guys are all full of yourselves. You all think you drive better than the next guy or that your capabilities or experience give you an edge over the person in the next lane. Wake up. We are each human with emotions and human qualities and problems. Good driver #1 is not going to be a good driver EVERY day in EVERY situation, cell phone or no cell phone, other distractions be damned. Best driver I know is a woman. Drives 5 MPH below all the time, hands at 10 and 2, never ran a YELLOW light much less a red in her life and never takes her hands off the wheel. So guys throw *that* stereotype out the window. (Fair warning – She’s also my mother so don’t trash her.)

Personally I don’t care for SUV’s but I don’t think that ALL people that drive them are bad drivers. I own a sports car and yeah, if I have to merge into traffic I am more CONFIDENT in its capabilities than I would be a 4 banger, but that doesn’t mean automatically that I zip in and out of traffic cutting people off and causing wrecks. I don’t own a BMW but it wouldn’t matter if I did. That isn’t the point. I’ve seen plenty of beat-up cars whose drivers drive worse than owners of BMW or Lexus or equivalent. The car does not make the driver. Period.

Biker wave? I know about the Jeep wave… Only because I used to have a Jeep. Could it be the ones who didn’t wave back had no idea what you were doing or why you were doing it? If you had waved at me I would have thought you had mistakened me for someone you knew and to save you the embarrassment of being wrong I would have simply looked away.

The comment of “same ‘I’m better than you’ mentality manifesting itself.’ suggests you have issues with successful individuals who can afford such a car and display it with their choice in vehicles. Hell, I can’t afford it but I don’t think they are better than me. I think that they paid their dollar and got what they wanted no different than my choosing my vehicle of passion or the SUV owner or the Lexus owner or the Buick owning Grandma.

It is just sad that instead of discussing the issue everyone is too busy tearing down each other… Issue: Does Touching Your Earpiece Violate The Driving-While-Talking Law?

justplainjess says:

And Back to the Initial Topic...

Well this has been a very entertaining read… we’ve travelled everywhere from cell phone legislation to taking potshots at each others’ political party affiliations, car preferences, and even gender. Luckily no one’s insulted the poor horses yet.

Rounding it back up to the topic at hand, though, I don’t have a very hard time seeing arguments from all sides. Of course, I can only speak for my own experience, but I know that if I’m talking in my cell phone, I find I concentrate less on driving than I would if I weren’t on the phone. I use my hands free set whenever I’m in the car, but I can still see where folks are distracted. However, I don’t think I should be babysat by my local police and end up at the wrong place at the wrong time if I decide at that very moment to change CD’s and I look down for a second. On the other-other hand, what an excellent source of revenue for local governments… just as good as putting the cameras at intersections to catch the red-light runners. No one likes a tax hike, so governments need to come with other more creative ways to generate revenue. Not advocating for the legislation, just food for thought. Consider also the litigious society we live in- people sue everyone for everything. We have laws for everything to prevent tort suits. This is just another one. Its clear that “use your common sense” isn’t a viable option in the U.S., unfortunately.

I don’t believe we should put blame on the cars people drive or whatever the item of distraction is (or their gender, car preference, or assumed political affiliations for that matter- correlations between driving ability and party affiliation have not yet been established). A distraction is a distraction. For some people, just thinking is distracting enough. Some of us have better reaction times than others, and can avoid accidents better, whether we’re in a Fiat or a BMW. Even the best drivers goof up sometimes. That’s what insurance is for.

If your’e looking for a refreshing display of “use common sense,” visit the Aztec temples around Mexico City. There you can climb all the way to the top with only a tiny little hand rail and up at the top, there are no signs that say “stay away from the edge. Maybe we can start sending folks there to apply for driver’s licenses? 🙂

RW says:

Re: And Back to the Initial Topic...

by justplainjess on Mar 15th, 2006 @ 10:54am

“I don’t believe we should put blame on the cars people drive or whatever the item of distraction is (or their gender, car preference, or assumed political affiliations for that matter- correlations between driving ability and party affiliation have not yet been established). A distraction is a distraction. For some people, just thinking is distracting enough. Some of us have better reaction times than others, and can avoid accidents better, whether we’re in a Fiat or a BMW. Even the best drivers goof up sometimes. That’s what insurance is for.”

Can I get an Amen?!

rick says:

MythBusters Episode...

Anyone see that MythBusters episode where they showed that talking on a cellphone while driving seems to impair your driving skills as much or more than driving legally drunk. Granted, it didn’t test anything about talking to a person sitting next to you in the car. Eitherway, the tests were about having to think and respond to questions over the phone, didn’t really have anything to do with holding the phone, however, I think it should be safe to assume that having a hand occupied when it could be needed to perform some emergency function, isn’t the best plan either.

RW says:

Re: MythBusters Episode...

Yeah, I saw that. That was very interesting. I would have loved to see them do the test hand-held and hands-free to see if it had an impact still the test had the participants performing rather complex mental tasks that a normal (and I stress normal) conversation would not entail. Still, the Myth Busters episode did have an impact on me. I do talk hands free in the car for short conversations but not on the highway and if the conversation gets complex or takes up too much of my concentration I either pull over or I call them back.

no name says:

driving under the influence of a phone

Have you seen what some people do in their car when they’re on the phone? I have an aquaintance whom I refuse to even be in the same car as since he gave me a lift once.

This is what he did:

Left hand on wheel, phone to ear in right hand.

Yakety yak

Let go of wheel with left hand in order to reach over to his right side and the gearstick to shift gear

Yakety yak…

And from what I’ve seen he’s far from alone in this behaviour…

And back to the original article, if they pulled him over for holding his earpiece, maybe he actually was distracted enough for them to notice. I find it hard to believe the police drives around looking closely at each and every driver out there. More likely they intervene when the driver is clearly distracted or in any way dangerous to himself or his surroundings.

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