Simplicity isn't simple so we need to stop pretending it is.
Coming up with the "simple solution" like banning cell phones in cars will create a myriad of peripheral actions/problems such as quickly reporting a fatality (or accident with serious injuries requiring immediate attention by professionals), preventing a fatality (such as a suicide jumper on an over crossing), and even saving your own life such as if you're stranded or lost in a desolate location without the ability to survive a sudden snowstorm. Would anyone consider NOT using a cell phone under these circumstances? Better yet, would LAW ENFORCEMENT and other emergency personnel not WANT you to use a cell phone these circumstances? Nope. Daily, we hear about people who called in a problem with a cell phone, took a picture with a cell phone, or just left a cell phone on during an emergency when they couldn't actually talk into it.
I have my personal cell phone and use it for conversations only in the most important of circumstances - not just while driving. But when I use it, I NEED to use it and not having or using it will simply force me to drive on and probably not get off the road to find a (hopefully working!) pay phone - something I do NOT recommend for single women at night in strange neighbourhood, ya know? I even have a second cell phone that is not activated; it doesn't have a phone number in service. But using it for 911 works regardless of any other factors than signal and power. This is an example of how important emergency services consider the usage of cell phones: they don't even give a damn if a carrier gets paid for the airtime.
The article both hit the mark and missed the target. The problem is distracted drivers AND dumb-as-dirt drivers. Anyone can become distracted while driving and it has nothing whatsoever to do with a cell phone. Case in point, I was driving safely in a line of traffic when a doe decided to cross the highway in front of me. Needless to say, I was distracted from driving within my lane and suddenly panic braking, as I've never hit anything alive before. In the end, the panic braking didn't cause a massive pile-up and my anti-lock brakes made my swerve less than effective for avoiding the deer that I think I killed. What could have been done to avoid this distraction from safe driving? Nada.
However, the article also mentioned dumbasses that could actually follow a GPS instead of looking out the freaking windshield to avoid an impassable situation. No amount of distraction will harm people like these; they are already beyond distraction and are living in some inane fantasy world where only one thing at a time exists: their selves. You could ban detours and they'd miss them, ban running over burning tar and they'd miss it, ban stopping and gawking at accidents and they'd stop and gawk anyway. To lump these sorry examples in with drivers who are notifying police of a kid dropping rocks onto windshields from overpasses by using a cell phone is ridiculous.
In the end, every single thing inside and outside of YOURSELF can become a distraction to you and distract you from anything else you are doing. Even if you're the best multi-tasker ever born, triaging varying degrees of attention from situation to situation requires time for the human mind to process - time you may not have available. So there's nothing to be done for prevention of distracted drivers other than removing them from vehicles if they prove too easily distracted. And the only way to do that would be to test them ALL regularly, just like police are tested when using a weapon, to be reasonably sure they could make a good decision as quickly as possible. Pass the test, you're free to drive with the tools available to you such as cell phones, passengers and open Pepsi bottles.
The thing that always makes me smile when driving is seeing someone's mouth moving in another car. Are they singing? Are they talking to themselves? Are they arguing with Rush Limbaugh in a talk show? Are they reciting the speech they are about to give a group of high school grads? Or are they talking on a hands-free device? If I were a cop, how would I choose which talker to pull over to see IF he or she was illegally using a cell phone while driving? If the universe had enough cops to check all of those talkers out there wouldn't be room for talkers driving. Oh, wait. Someone needs to ban all police from having cell phones, OK? Thanks!
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