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I just wrote a blog post on the recent hands-free law in my state, follow link below, and I was thinking about all the commuters on this page. There is a link in that blog to the 28 states that have hands-free laws; does your state have one? Have you had any recent close calls with drivers talking on the phone? What are your thoughts on the subject?

From my perspective I cannot remember ever being so excited about a new law, but why can't the Police pull drivers over for this? Maybe the Lawyers on this forum can explain that to the rest of us...............MTT :10:

PS I almost got clipped last summer by a Suburban because the woman driving it had a cell phone to her head; blocking where I should have come into her view. What saved me was I was going fast enough to get around her before she pulled out (going too fast to stop at that point, so it was my only option). I really hope people buy headsets.
 

· NeoRetroGrouch
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MTT said:
I just wrote a blog post on the recent hands-free law in my state, follow link below, and I was thinking about all the commuters on this page. There is a link in that blog to the 28 states that have hands-free laws; does your state have one? Have you had any recent close calls with drivers talking on the phone? What are your thoughts on the subject?

From my perspective I cannot remember ever being so excited about a new law, but why can't the Police pull drivers over for this? Maybe the Lawyers on this forum can explain that to the rest of us...............MTT :10:

PS I almost got clipped last summer by a Suburban because the woman driving it had a cell phone to her head; blocking where I should have come into her view. What saved me was I was going fast enough to get around her before she pulled out (going too fast to stop at that point, so it was my only option). I really hope people buy headsets.
I totally disagree with 'hands free' laws. These would imply that using using a 'hands free' cell phone (or other distracting device) is safe. It is not. I don't care where your hands are, just keep your mind on your driving. - TF
 

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Connecticut has had one since Oct 06, almost 2 years. They can pull people over for it. At first, there seemed to be some enforcement, and a lot of publicity, but in the last year usage seems to be back to what it was before (my anecdotal assesment as a regular bike commuter), and I frequently have to dodge drivers who do just what you describe: not looking to the side because the phone is being held to the ear.

The laws only help if there's effective enforcement. Law enforcement folks here in Connecticut (inlcuding our legislature) seem not to have grasped the idea that the key to changing driving habits is frequent enforcement (even if penalties are small) rather than sporadic enforcement with large penalties. I try to politely remind drivers when I can (well, not always politely), "Excuse me, you know you can get a ticket for that," but I don't think it does any good, because the ones who have any idea what I'm talking about know that they probably won't get a ticket -- or even get pulled over and warned.

Good luck. Keep your eyes open.

TurboTurtle, you make a valid point about distractions generally, but there is some logic to banning hand-held phone use. Anything you do in the car, including talking with a passenger and listening to the radio, can be a distraction, but hand-held phones add another serious impediment, tying up a hand that could be on the wheel (or otherwise used -- phone talkers almost NEVER use their turn signals) and restricting vision by keeping a hand next to the head and limiting the ability to turn the head. Based on my own observations, it's a significant difference, and eliminating hand-held use while permitting bluetoothing would be a safety improvement.

The hand-held thing would also allow for pretty easy enforcement (if they chose to do effective enforcement), since it's easy to see.
 

· (not a real racer)
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TurboTurtle said:
I totally disagree with 'hands free' laws. These would imply that using using a 'hands free' cell phone (or other distracting device) is safe. It is not. I don't care where your hands are, just keep your mind on your driving. - TF
Me too. Anything other than driving is not driving and distracting.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
TurboTurtle said:
I totally disagree with 'hands free' laws. These would imply that using using a 'hands free' cell phone (or other distracting device) is safe. It is not. I don't care where your hands are, just keep your mind on your driving. - TF
As a cyclist I agree with you, but in reality there is no way people will accept a total ban...............MTT
 

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We've had a hands free law in Santa Fe for a year or two now, and it is universally ignored. It is scoffed at to the point that a City Council member actually proposed the law be scrapped (never mind the studies that show that cell phone drivin' idiots are as dangerous as DUI drivers-how's that for logic?). I swear, if I see one more fockin' left hand held up to the head of the driver of an SUV that is veering erratically, I'm going to throw a brick through his windshield! I just go ballistic with this, because we already have SO many drunk and distracted drivers, and this is just so unnecesary. I just know this is how I'm going to die....
 

· NeoRetroGrouch
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MTT said:
As a cyclist I agree with you, but in reality there is no way people will accept a total ban...............MTT
They would have said the same thing about the current alcohol limits 40 years ago. - TF
 

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Day one of the new law (Tues) I was commuting home on a two lane road in a 25 mph zone doing around 22 mph. I heard and then saw a red Toyota Tundra truck slowly moving towards me forcing me to the edge of the road. The driver was looking down at their blackberry and pressing buttons. He noticed me at the last second and swerved over.

The police aren't going to pull someone over for using their phone, it will be secondary offense like pulling someone over for speeding and then issuing another citation for not wearing a seatbelt. I am in the military and cell phone use while driving has been illegal on base for quite a while. People still do it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
bigbill said:
Day one of the new law (Tues) I was commuting home on a two lane road in a 25 mph zone doing around 22 mph. I heard and then saw a red Toyota Tundra truck slowly moving towards me forcing me to the edge of the road. The driver was looking down at their blackberry and pressing buttons. He noticed me at the last second and swerved over.

The police aren't going to pull someone over for using their phone, it will be secondary offense like pulling someone over for speeding and then issuing another citation for not wearing a seatbelt. I am in the military and cell phone use while driving has been illegal on base for quite a while. People still do it.
Texting and driving at the same time? It is hard to believe someone would be that stupid. Don't these people realize that if they hit me the first thing my Lawyer will do is summon their cell phone records? Don't they realize they will get destroyed in a court of law? The world is insane....................MTT
 

· NeoRetroGrouch
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MTT said:
Texting and driving at the same time? It is hard to believe someone would be that stupid. Don't these people realize that if they hit me the first thing my Lawyer will do is summon their cell phone records? Don't they realize they will get destroyed in a court of law? The world is insane....................MTT
Your mistake here is that these people do not believe that they will get into an accident. Just like the DUI, they believe that they can handle it. - TF
 

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I don't know how many people I have seen this week since the 1st still using there cell phones while drive. In one stretch along Hwy 9 in the Snohomish area I counted 17 people using their cell phones while driving in a 6 mile span. Being that the law is a secondary law I doubt it will have little affect.

Ray Still
 

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MTT said:
Texting and driving at the same time? It is hard to believe someone would be that stupid. Don't these people realize that if they hit me the first thing my Lawyer will do is summon their cell phone records? Don't they realize they will get destroyed in a court of law?
Well, you would think so. But chances are they'll get a slap on the wrist.

http://www.raisethehammer.org/blog.asp?id=421
 

· Misfit Toy
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If I understand the California law, you're not breaking it until you actually put the phone to your ear. So that leaves dialing, texting, playing games....all still legal. I feel so much safer...:rolleyes:
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
abiciriderback said:
I don't know how many people I have seen this week since the 1st still using there cell phones while drive. In one stretch along Hwy 9 in the Snohomish area I counted 17 people using their cell phones while driving in a 6 mile span. Being that the law is a secondary law I doubt it will have little affect.

Ray Still
I hope you are wrong Ray, but it may take several months for it to sink in. I have family and friends in NY, and everyone there has hands-free type devices. As a few have mentioned the Police really need to start enforcing it. It is easy enough to pull people over for going too fast, and then give them a ticket for the phone no?

MTT
 

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I recently read a pop-science book by John Medina - Brain Rules. Medina's a brain scientist who explains in the book that there is plenty of reproducible, peer-reviewed research out there that proves how dangerous driving while talking on a cell phone is.

He explains that the distracting aspect of using a cell phone has little to do with whether you use a hands-free headset or not. It's the way the brain has to work to visualize and model a virtual entity to mentally represent the person that you are talking to on the phone. He devotes a whole chapter debunking the idea that humans can effectively multi-task. Anyway, it wasn't a bad read.
 

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It's time for the NTSB to issue a new regulation. All motorized vehicles should have cell phone jammers that activate when the engine in on. Start the car and the cell phone won't work.
 

· NeoRetroGrouch
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MTT said:
I hope you are wrong Ray, but it may take several months for it to sink in. I have family and friends in NY, and everyone there has hands-free type devices. As a few have mentioned the Police really need to start enforcing it. It is easy enough to pull people over for going too fast, and then give them a ticket for the phone no?

MTT
It sounds like you have bought into this red herring law. It only tries to placate those that know distracted driving is dangerous without actually doing anything. Everyone feels warm and fuzzy - people continue to die. - TF
 
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