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One of the biggest debates today is the issue of driving (or riding a motorcycle) while talking and /or texing. Personally, I don’t even see the debate; if you’re doing something to distract you from driving, that’s a problem. I’ve heard the argument that talking to a passenger in the car in person is the equivalent of such a “distraction.” What is the difference if you are talking on a cellphone? Apples and oranges. There’s a huge difference when one of your hands is tied up holding a phone to your ear. Blue tooth, you say? Well, you still have to dial the number. I’ve been in that situation myself. You glance down to dial a digit or 2, then quickly look up at the road, then look down to dial 2 more digits, another quick look at the road… No question: It’s distracting. If you are having to divert your attention from the road AT ALL while your car is in motion, that’s a problem. I’m not all that savvy with my cell phone. I have it more out of necessity, so I find myself dialing the full number (the old fashioned way), I don’t have numbers programmed into it. So I realize this is yet another shortcut to argue the point that a phone does not hinder your driving in any way.
So I’ll take out the big guns to illustrate my point: the person on the other end of the phone is not observing what you are observing. This is a big deal when you’re in a moving vehicle, and you never know what’s around the bend. Suddenly someone cuts you off, your buddy on the other end of the phone is still yammering on about whether to sell off his tickets to the Sox game or just tough it out even though it’s raining. You slam on your brakes, but still have someone chewing your ear off about some nonsensical issue going on in their life, at a point where your level of focus potentially becomes the difference between life and death. I really don’t have enough data to say whether a bluetooth could be dangerous, so I have to say, I would waiver on that if the argument was persuasive. If there are no accidents recorded out there related to folks on a non hand held device, then that’s enough for me.
I wasn’t even sure what NH laws were so I just did a quick Google search and found this article posted on February 27, 2011:
“In an effort to combat the growing distracted driving problem, New Hampshire lawmakers are considering a bill that could ban drivers from using hand-held cell phones in their car. The law would require drivers to use hands-free mobile devices. Drivers who hold their phone in the air or near their ears could face a $100 fine. Texting while driving was banned in New Hampshire since last year.”
A reader named “TRUCKER” posted this comment:
“Should do it in all 50 states I see so many driving mistakes made by people on phone everyday I am on the road.”
He sounds like someone who spends a lot of time on the road, so I trust his opinion. And I’m inclined to agree.