Theme: Useless Laws North of the Columbia

No sooner had I finished posting my last piece about the questionable necessity of arbitrary speed limits than I noticed that courtesy of the lawmakers of Washington, starting next year you can get a $101 ticket for using a cell phone while driving without a hands-free device once you cross the Interstate Bridge.

Never mind the fact that studies consistently show that a hands-free device doesn’t decrease the distraction level or lower accident rates, at least we’ve got politicians up there giving lip service to the issue and passing yet more useless laws to waste everyone’s time and money. Screw logic, let’s make laws! This would be a great topic for an episode of Bullshit.

6 Comments so far

  1. Melissa (unregistered) on April 12th, 2007 @ 9:13 am

    While I agree that talking on a cell phone whether hands free or not is distracting while driving I do think that one could react to a situation better with two hands on the wheel vs. one.

    My $0.02


  2. george (unregistered) on April 12th, 2007 @ 9:24 am

    yea, the hands free devices don’t lower accident rates over the already VERY HIGH accident rates of drivers with cell phones (some studies find rates similar to drunk driving).

    just ban them all…


  3. divebarwife (unregistered) on April 12th, 2007 @ 9:27 am

    If I cause an accident and am on my phone – I should be cited – but for a cop to be able to pull me over simply because I’m talking. Dumb.

    That is as dumb as him being able to pull me over because I’m not wearing my seatbelt or because my child’s who’s one inch under the latest limit isn’t in a safety seat. Yes it’s safer – yes I should be, or shouldn’t be – doing those things – but it’s up to ME to do so. Not an enforceable law.

    But – if they are going to pass this – then I also want people to get tickets for turning around and talking to the kids in the backseat, for having their little dog in their lap, for changing CD’s, drinking coffee, and by all means if you sneeze and have to blow your nose – you’d better pull over now.


  4. Himself (unregistered) on April 12th, 2007 @ 10:22 am

    Divebarwife: the WA law classifies it as a secondary offense, meaning they can’t stop you for it. They can only cite you for it if they’ve stopped you for something else.

    Needless to say, it was a compromise that produced a meaningless piece of legislation that will do next to nothing to discourage people from driving while talking on the phone.

    Ban them all, period. I’m sick of being cut off by idiots talking on the phone. The evidence cited by George is correct… hands-free or not, cell phone talkers are just as dangerous as drunk drivers.


  5. Mick (unregistered) on April 12th, 2007 @ 1:17 pm

    Divebarwife: Most of the things you cite require SECONDS of attention at a time (i.e. changing CDs). Having a conversation on your phone requires MINUTES of continuous attention.

    In other words, I can choose a spot during my driving where I it is relatively “safe” to divert my attention for a few seconds to change a CD. I do not believe it is possible to do so for MORE than a few seconds, though, which is what a cell phone conversation requires.

    You said:
    “If I cause an accident and am on my phone – I should be cited – but for a cop to be able to pull me over simply because I’m talking.”

    A little word substition gets the point across:
    “If I cause an accident and am drunk – I should be cited – but for a cop to be able to pull me over simply because I’m drunk.”


  6. Lisa Bellison (unregistered) on April 12th, 2007 @ 4:04 pm

    I go back and forth regarding this issue. I try not to talk on it while driving, but sometimes I’ll place a call or check my voicemail while waiting at a light. I’ve pretty much restricted use in motion, if I’m running late or have to notify someone quickly about something.

    When I first got a cellphone, I used to drive around, having long conversations with friends, but I’ve realized it does distract me and it’s generally a bad idea.



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