Friday, March 26, 2010

Primary Offense

It is with mixed feelings that I write this post. I'm torn between what I think I should think as a driving instructor and what I actually think with regard to cell phones and driving.

I'm pretty sure I'm expected to be supportive of the new law that Gov. Gregoire just signed into Washington State Law making talking on a hand held cell phone a primary offense. But I'm not. As a primary offense, a driver can be pulled over simply for talking on the phone.


The truth of the matter is that I like to talk on the phone while driving. And it seems like I'm always driving somewhere. I take that time to make appointments. I return phone calls. I discuss upcoming projects or events. I talk business. I catch up with friends. Using the phone while I drive connects me to the outside world. And I like actually holding the phone...except when my arm goes numb from pressing the phone to my ear too long. Using the phone IS a distraction that involves risk. And quite frankly, the benefits of all I can accomplish phoning while driving mediate that for me.

What is surprising is that this report published by CNN in January indicates that laws banning hand held phones doesn't actually reduce collisions, which is fascinating on many levels. I think the distracted driving comes not just from phones, hand held or not, but talking or conversations in general. And who can outlaw talking while driving? Driving has become such an automated process to the experienced driver that it feels like a waste of time to be travelling and not being productive by doing anything else.

1 comment:

  1. Bridget,

    I am told the sin is to hold the phone up to your ear. If you are using the speaker function or have a blue tooth earphone, that should be OK.

    Every few seconds you should be scanning the mirrors and checking blind spots to know what is going on around you (defensive driving). Try doing that while holding a phone to your ear.

    I have called 911 to report a road hazard or someone in distress and then realized the operator should be asking whether or not I am holding the phone. Oops.


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