Friday, November 19, 2010

Hands Free...

I am not sure exactly what is so difficult to understand about that.

It means exactly what it says. Your HANDS must remain FREE of your cell phone.

Many of the drivers I stop think as long as the phone is not up to their ear they are in compliance with the law. Perhaps if it was an "ears free" law that would be true. Unfortunately for most, holding your speaker phone in your hand does not rise to the level of hands free.

Another excuse that always elicits further discussion from me is "but I wasn't talking. I was just listening to a message."

Ahhh. I see. Unfortunately for you, you were doing so whilst holding your phone in your hand. Thus, you were not hands free.

The basic premise of the hands-free cell phone law in California is that the legislature decided it would be safer if we all drove with, get this, OUR HANDS ON THE STEERING WHEEL.

Go figure, right?

They did not come to this conclusion on a whim. They did not pull this law out of their collective ass. They researched records of collisions over the previous several years and noticed a trend. A lot of people were getting in crashes while using their cell phone.

Now you, like many a driver I stop, may say "But I've been talking and driving for YEARS and never crashed."

To this I say, lucky you. I do not buy the idea that you are exceptionally skilled at driving with one hand (or a knee) while carrying on a cell phone conversation with the other. You are simply lucky. I'm sure you don't think about the times you have NEARLY crashed, because they don't affect your driving record.

Unfortunately for the "skilled", the unskilled and untalented have tainted the record for you. As with many other laws enacted by this state, the many have been restricted because of the actions of the few. Still, it is no less illegal.

So please, do me a favor...

Hang up and drive...


SunTzu said...

Actually, almost all of the results point to one thing: Its not the lack of hands on wheels that cause accidents, but the lack of attention to driving. Being on the phone is less of a danger because people have less control over the car, and more of a danger because they focus less on whats happening around them.

Carteach0 said...

First and foremost, I truly dislike holding conversations on my cell phone, especially while driving. Always have.

Do I do so? Yes, every once in a while. Perhaps every few days, and the 'conversation' generally lasts less than a minute.

Since I don't use my phone for a lot of voice conversations, I don't see the need to get a Blue tooth and become one of blinking blue horde of remote control blue tooth zombies seen staggering into doors while they talk to themselves.

My phone takes voice commands, and has a decent speaker phone. That is enough for me to just leave it laying on the seat or console.

Me said...

I have a question about this law. Does it specify that 2 hands must be on the steering wheel at all times?

I frequently drive with only 1 hand regardless of whether or not a cell phone is in the other. (in ohio no such law on less on base at wright patterson air force base)

Love your blog.

Meadowlark said...

Two thoughts:
In our state, it's ok to use your phone hands free if you're DIALING (um, isn't that the most dangerous part?) or if it's necessary to conduct business. Thanks lawmakers, you guys SUCK at making laws.

Second, that is honestly what I hate about MDTs... I've seen the Husband drive. ;) Professional or not, having him on a laptop at the same time is not a good idea ;)

Nicholas said...

It actually has nothing to do with hand free vs holding the phone, and everything to do with having a distracting conversation while driving. The hands-free law is better than nothing, yes, but still misses the point: cell phones are a distraction in any format.

Jackie said...

See I find this annoying. I'm on the road all of the time, and I do a signfigant part of my job via the phone. Why is to so diffucult to plug in an ear piece or use blue tooth?



Handcuffed Heart said...

Yes, please, hang up and drive. I was in the crosswalk and almost run over by a phone holding driver. I probably woulda been OK but it was my three kids I was worried about.... GGGGGRRRRRRRrrrrrr!

Anonymous said...

They need to shut up,hang up and drive.

*Goddess* said...

Drive with our hands on the WHAT now?? That's just crazy talk.

Anonymous said...

Happy Thanksgiving

HonkingAntelope said...

Humor me this: If it's against the law for an average Joe to make a quick call at a red light or in the middle of stop-and-go traffic, why is it perfectly legal for a police officer to jabber away on a cell phone all while working the radio, reading the computer, and chasing someone through residential streets at 80mph?

The collective punishment approach taken by this law is bad enough, but putting the police above the law is a royal slap in the face.

Officer "Smith" said...


The law does not "put police above the law. The law exempts police, firefighters and ambulance personnel.

Did you ever consider what that officer might be discussing on the cell phone? He could be discussing some information he just got from a confidential informant. He could be talking to a dispatcher about something he doesn't want to put on the radio. He could even be out of radio range.

You don't know.

The legislature thought it important enough to exempt operators of authorized emergency vehicles.

The police don't write the laws.

Loren Pechtel said...

Add me to the crowd that says it's the distraction, not the hands. If having one's hands off the wheel were actually the issue the stick shift would have been banned.

I've seen some pretty unsafe cell phone behavior--but in every case I've seen equally scary behavior from the same person that didn't involve a phone.

Furthermore, the research also agrees. Having a phone in hand is only more dangerous than a hands-free system for new drivers--and new drivers shouldn't be talking to anyone while driving other than for driver's training purposes.