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Should all states have laws requiring hands-free devices while in moving cars?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

Featured Debate 2

 

Come July 1st, 2008, in California, two new laws will go into effect.  From the California DMV:

 

The first prohibits all drivers from using a handheld wireless telephone while operating a motor vehicle, (Vehicle Code (VC) §23123). Motorists 18 and over may use a "hands-free device." Drivers under the age of 18 may NOT use a wireless telephone or hands-free device while operating a motor vehicle (VC §23124).

 

In the US, jurisdiction-wide bans on driving while talking are in place in California, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Utah, and Washington and the District of Columbia. Utah has named the offense careless driving. Various localities have banned cell phone use.

 

So what do you think?  Should driving and talking on a mobile phone be banned everywhere?

 


Edited by stins - Tue, 29 Jul 2008 01:18:44 GMT
post #2 of 21

Yup, in my view, the use of handsets should be prohibited.  Hands free is fine (no worse than changing radio stations), but texting, etc, is just plain distracting.  Can't tell you how many times drivers have caused me grief from not paying attention while on the phone - or texting.


Edited by tjgill - Tue, 17 Jun 2008 03:43:41 GMT
post #3 of 21

This law should not only become effective in more states, it should be enforced more rigorously.  I live in New Jersey, and even with the law I can't tell you how many times I see people driving erratically.  Mostly, it's just bad driving.  But more often than not, it's a soccer mom with a phone in her hand.  It's frustrating to drive near these people knowing they are that much closer to causing an accident and sending my insurance rates even higher.

post #4 of 21
Thread Starter 

Just a little update, looks like according to the AP, come July 1st, drivers caught holding a mobile phone to their ear risk a $124 ticket in the state of Washington (except when reporting an emergency or a crime).

post #5 of 21

"Officer, these gas prices are absolutely criminal! I had to report it to the police. Am I off the hook?"

 

I can only imagine someone pulling that excuse.

 

Anyways, I believe that every state should have laws against using a handset while driving. It is horrible, and I once had someone hit my car as they merged into my lane. I honked the horn, and the guy almost didn't even care—he just kept talking on his cell phone.

 

It will save people's lives.  It needs to be put into action everywhere.

post #6 of 21

 Cells phones really need to be banned when driving. Its not just the cell phone that is the distraction though, its the conversation on the cell, thats why even allowing hands free wouldn't exactly work. Seriously I can talk to someone sitting next to me while I drive, but if I have to talk to someone on a cell phone something just changes and its not a thing like talking to an actual person. It bugs me when I see people talking on cells and driving (oh well apparently though), I count how many cars go by w/o a cell talker, not many...It is a rare occasion when i can count three cars in a row w/o someone on their cell phone. lol in my opinion the cell phone people and the tailgaters should be pulled over more than speeders ;) 

post #7 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by SierraK:

 Cells phones really need to be banned when driving. Its not just the cell phone that is the distraction though, its the conversation on the cell, thats why even allowing hands free wouldn't exactly work. Seriously I can talk to someone sitting next to me while I drive, but if I have to talk to someone on a cell phone something just changes and its not a thing like talking to an actual person. It bugs me when I see people talking on cells and driving (oh well apparently though), I count how many cars go by w/o a cell talker, not many...It is a rare occasion when i can count three cars in a row w/o someone on their cell phone. lol in my opinion the cell phone people and the tailgaters should be pulled over more than speeders ;) 

 

I completely agree.

 

I think that phone manufacturers should provide hands-free devices with the phones.  It doesn't need to be an insanely expensive one, but something simple that could take a tiny bit of abuse would be acceptable.  It might just give manufacturers a reason to charge more, but seriously, I believe that if more people experienced using a hands-free headset, they would be more inclined to consider using it and purchasing another one.

 

I'm going to purchase a hands-free headset soon, but then again, if I get the iPhone, I don't know what I'll do.  The GPS feature is going to be crazy enough.

post #8 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by SierraK:

 Cells phones really need to be banned when driving. Its not just the cell phone that is the distraction though, its the conversation on the cell, thats why even allowing hands free wouldn't exactly work.

I know what you're saying... but I have to disagree.  I think hands free makes a huge difference.  When you've got both hands on the wheel (or are at least in your normal "not talking on the phone" driving position) you're in much better shape to pay attention to the road than with a cell against your ear.  I think its enough of a difference that we don't need the laws banning our talking on the phones.

post #9 of 21

I agree that every state should require  at least a hands free device when using the phone in your vehicle. Talking on the phone at all is distracting when you drive, but actually looking at the phone truly increases the risks of an accident.

post #10 of 21

I'm all for this as well. I'm tired of seeing other motorists distracted because they're talking on their phones. The ones who text while driving are even worse.

post #11 of 21

Certainly there is a case for the ban.  I have seen more people texting/typing on devices; which is tremendously worse in my opinion. 

post #12 of 21

I have two pet peeves in this world. The first is those damn weelie sneakers that kids skate around on. The second is when I see someone on their phone while driving. Bluetooth has become so widespread and inexpensive that, if you can afford a phone, you can afford a headset. And don't most or all handsets come with wired headsets these days? Use your heads and headsets people.

post #13 of 21

I am certainly for this.  However, they should extend this to other things such as eating, drinking, and applying makeup while driving.

 

Way back when I was in highschool, a student there went into a coma after his mom spilled her coffee on herself and drove into a post thus ejecting him through the windshield.  She was going ~30 mph and he didn't have his seat belt on unfortunately :(.

post #14 of 21

 totally agree that talking on the cell phone is distracting; hands-free is way better.  i liked JMowery's suggestion that manufacturers supply hands-free devices with every phone.  good way to encourage people to use them.

 

but i don't know how far this should go (in terms of eating, drinking, putting on make up).  while these are all distracting things to do, two things concern me.  first, i'm afraid that this is all starting to sound a bit "big brother" -- being monitored all the time for what you do in your car.  second, should policemen be allocating such a large portion of time/energy to this enforcement? 

 

people should try to be more responsible themselves....aaargh.

post #15 of 21

Good point Lola.  I can see how you would be a little concerned, and it makes me think.  It's a question of where we draw the line then.  In which case, I stand behind my point of view.  It's my belief that you should not be distracted while engaging in any activity that can kill or harm others e.g. eating (one hand off the wheel, part of your mind on your food), applying makeup (many times it's no hands on the wheel, just knees and eyes on a mirror), texting (wrists on the wheel, eyes on the screen).

 

This is why I believe that policementshould be allocating time to enforce laws such as the new handsfree laws because it saves people's lives.  I think you're being a bit too hopeful and give people too much credit.  People are not responsible in general and that's why there are laws.  Evenso, there are still those who drive drunk, drive at 135mph, drive intoxicated, drive recklessly (change lanes, tailgate).  I used to be guilty of some of those things (135mph, reckless driver).  I've since matured, but there was a window of several years where I could have killed someone.  I got lucky, very lucky and I'm glad I didn't end up hurting anyone.

 

Anyhow, that's my take on it.

post #16 of 21

 Totally respect your point.  I guess we'd both be too hopeful, though, to think that they'd actually pass laws that would be so stringent on driving behaviors -- I'm guessing that, despite the obvious benefit of keeping our roads safer, many civil liberties groups would argue infringements on personal rights, and that whole "big brother" phenomenon I was going on about. 

 

So, I definitely understand where you're coming from, yet the realist in me doesn't see it happening.  It also points to an interesting, broader problem of allocation of resources (eg. policemen's energies, for one)...what do we prioritize?  Perhaps this should, as you may suggest, be of highest priority...

post #17 of 21

I am in the "all use should be banned" camp.  It only makes a marginal difference whether you actually have both hands free to drive... attention away from driving can result in bad things happening either way.  I can't tell you how many times I have missed an exit just with my wife talking to me in the car.

 

Ever tried watching a TV show or a game on TV while talking on the phone?  You can't give full attention to both at the same time... you either have to hit the Tivo/DVR pause button or you miss out on what happened while you were talking.  Most people just can't multitask like that and they aren't even aware of the attention deficit.

post #18 of 21

Would definitely encourage everyone to use hands-free devices, whether it be through laws or including a device with each new phone purchase.  It would be virtually impossible to ban cell phone use while driving these days.  With many new cars equipped with Bluetooth capabilities, many times it's hard to tell if someone is singing along with the radio or talking on the phone.  I think there should be an extra ticket or fee for someone who is pulled over for speeding or who causes an accident while on the phone.

post #19 of 21

You will actually find several studies if you google it on whether hands-free devices are indeed safer.  Initial indications point to no statistical difference.  Here is one study conducted by Suzanne P McEvoy that finds that there is no statistical difference.  I remember reading an article of a study coming out of Canada as well some 6 months ago.

post #20 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by kynamd:

Here is one study conducted by Suzanne P McEvoy that finds that there is no statistical difference.

 

Interesting link, thanks for that... "Driver's use of a mobile phone up to 10 minutes before a crash was associated with a fourfold increased likelihood of crashing... Risk was raised irrespective of whether or not a hands-free device was use"

 

This certainly supports the "lowered attention" risk and not the "free hands" risk.  If lowered attention is what increases the risk, debating whether using a phone via bluethooth, headset, holding it, etc is almost like arguing which of wine, beer, or spirits is worse for drunk driving.  I'm not saying driving while talking is anywhere near as dangerous as driving while intoxicated, I only suggest that handsfree laws are not addressing the root cause of the risk.

post #21 of 21

I'm with pgens.  There was something on NPR recently about this, and it sounds like even with hands free, cell phones lead to poorer driving due to distraction.

 

I think the difference between talking to someone in your car and talking to someone on the phone is that your passenger is also aware of the road conditions, and will shut up when things get crazy.  Likewise, listening to the radio requires less attention than does listening to someone talk- at least in the case of music radio...

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