Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Towns banning cellphone use while driving

So, currently there's no data to support the fact that accidents decrease in places that ban handheld cellphone use while driving. Yet towns like Chapel Hill want to make it illegal to use a handheld phone while driving. The best you can do is cite a AAA study that claims you're just as impaired while talking on a cellphone as if you had a blood acohol level of 0.08, which is the legal limit. So you're just impaired enough to be BORDERLINE too drunk to drive and thus we need to ban them? And the study is by the AAA, for goodnesssakes. Can we get some data from more than one source on this before we do it?

And honestly, I don't believe this is the kind of thing a town should be allowed to legislate anyway. The article states that the state legislature has to allow them to do this, which is good, unless the state actually does allow it. Then it's bad. Why? Because I can't think of a single reason why something that's bad enough we should ban it in Chapel Hill isn't something we should ban statewide. And if you think "oh, no, it's safer to talk on your handheld phone when traveling in rural areas", well, fine. That still means EVERY city should ban it, which is something the legislature could just do. I mean seriously, do you want to have to worry about what the law is in every city you go in and out of? Heck, they don't even mark the city borders on every road! How are we supposed to KNOW what the law is where we are?

It's rediculous, especially since many people (like myself) live outside Chapel Hill and would have little say in the creation of this law. I suppose I can lobby my state representatives if Chapel Hill chooses to ask for this, but really...I shouldn't have to. Note that nowhere am I claiming it's a safe thing to do. But we should be having this discussion at the state level only.


Mike Wangsmo said...

what really gets me is they cite all of these studies about distracted drivers causing accidents, however, I've read that there are still a higher percentage of accidents caused by smokers (dropping cigarettes). I'm sure that people eating and drinking also cause accidents.

I have no respect for the cell phone bans until these same bans apply to all driving distractions.

Even worse, employers are climbing on the bandwagon as well. My company banned cell phones while driving recently too. I find it very annoying since I spend long times on the road and I do not want to wear a bluetooth ear plug.

Generally annoying trying to control details of individual's lives.

jenandjonathan said...

I happen to know a certain psychologist who needs a publication. With the right amount of funding, I bet we could put together a rockin' study on this very issue :-)


Donnie Barnes said...

I got $20 and I'm willing to spend it!!!

Jane Elizabeth said...

The thought of this annoys me to no end. What happens if I get a call from the hospital telling me my surgery is delayed, or they need an order for my patient? What about my street? I'm a Chapel Hill address but technically Carrboro taxpayer..
And most importantly, do they even have the authority to do this? I agree there should be a statewide consistency. Are they going to post signs at EVERY street entrance to Chapel Hill? Uggh.
Handsfree would be an acceptable alternative to me but not a ban. Too bad I can't vote in CH...

lono said...

jane, you pull over and safely answer the phone.

agreed that any such law should be at the state level. disagree that banning is a bad idea. just about every time i'm on the road i am victim of some idiot on a cell phone. and, as much as i'd like to say that i'm never that idiot i know i have been. fortunately, most of this is just pure nuisance. but i have no doubt a lot of people get killed and maimed every year by idiots on cell phones. especially bicyclists. so, i got no problem with the cell phone ban. i say bring it on. but it should be statewide. besides, the ToC should be concerned with more important things... like telling people how many trees they can cut down on their own property.