Tempting fate, cell phone use in cars

Bryn Gallagher

You are driving on a beautiful day when your phone beeps, you look down only for a moment and pick up the phone. That crime may just be your last.

The state of California banned talking on cell phones in July 2008 and texting as of Jan. 2009, but in Nov. 2010 cell phone use in cars has not stopped.

There is a good reason for the cell phone ban: cell phones and cars don’t mix well. No matter how wonderful you are at multitasking, any time you take your hands off the steering wheel or your eyes off the road you are endangering your life as well as the lives of those around you. It is selfish to feel that your personal texts or calls are more important then the lives of everyone on the road, it isn’t that difficult to pull over if the text is that important.

The ban on cell phone use is not merely a suggestion, it is a law. There is a $20 fine for first time offenders and $50 for each additional offense. However, this seems to be ignored seeing as every time you get in the car you are likely to see at least one driver talking on the phone.

In attempts to break the law, drivers have come up with several incredibly creative ways to “hide” the fact they are talking on the phone. Such as holding the phone out in front of you while using speaker phone, no longer a violation right? Wrong. One hand is on the phone and not on the steering wheel and you are still distracted. Setting your phone on the steering wheel to text will not work either, your eyes are not on the road which is dangerous.

In the split second while you check to see if your spelling is correct the traffic patterns could change. Someone could pull in front of you, stop, or make a U-turn. If you are not watching the road, your car or your life may be totaled. Is that conversation still that important?

A car is considered by law to be a deadly weapon and texting while driving is just like using a flame thrower with your eyes closed, a bad idea.

If you don’t value your own life enough to hang up the phone, think about those around you. There are so many people who rely on you to pay attention to the road, and not the newest gossip.

Maybe the reason why most people still text or talk while driving is because the law is not enforced. Perhaps if officials paid more attention to the blatantly ignored law people would stop. And, if all the cell phone users were fined we might even come closer to closing the budget deficit.

Regardless of whether or not you think it is dumb or lame, laws are laws. Murders are punished for murder and distracted drivers can be punished for vehicular manslaughter.

What do you think?