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Sunday, January 29, 2006

Don't Cell Yourself Short

I don’t like people telling me what to do.

We already have enough of it in this country, and the trend seems to be growing.

The “blame-someone-else” masses call up the powers-that-be with complaints about what somebody else is doing—and prod them to pass some intrusive laws. To over-regulate. To tell us what is best for us in our own offices, in our own cars, and even in our own bedrooms.

This kind of legislation drives me crazy. Particularly when it comes to my precious cell phone.

Politicians all over America are requiring hands-free headsets for cell phone users ... or trying to ban cell phones in cars altogether. Sometimes it’s to reduce the supposed risk of tumors from cell phones use; sometimes it’s to prevent the purported greatest risk to road safety—the distraction caused by talking on cell phones while driving.

On both points, the cellphobes are wrong.

According to the recently released, largest-ever study to examine the hypothetical health dangers from cell phone use, there is no link between frequent cell phone use and the most common brain tumors.

Strike one.

When it comes to the dangers of unfocused driving, researchers have found that many things are more distracting than talking on a cell phone. One study found that foods like chocolate and jelly-filled doughnuts topped the list of driving distractions. Don’t forget drinks, too—coffee, for example, often spills, spurring drivers to jump in skin-scalding pain or look down to clean up the mess.

No matter how you slice (or gulp) it, research shows that eating and driving puts others in harm’s way more than talking on a cell phone.

Strike two.

An earlier, AAA-funded study found all the following activities outranked cell phone use as causes of serious automobile accidents: eating and drinking, adjusting climate controls, changing radio stations, adding/removing CDs, and talking to passengers. Not to mention distractions outside the vehicle, which were nearly 20 times more likely than cell phone use to cause serious accidents.

Strike three. Cellphobes are OUT.

Please don’t misunderstand me—I’m not a fan of drivers who swerve across three lanes while turning because one hand is holding a cell phone. In fact, facing this very situation today, I performed my duty as a citizen—I rolled down my window and hurled expletives at the careless jackass.

But the problem is the driver, not the cell phone.

If someone causes an accident due to any distraction—be it changing radio stations, eating fast food, or trying to pick up a toy that their baby dropped—we should hold the driver responsible. Don’t outlaw the radio, the burger, or the pacifier, even though doing so would apparently save lives.

And leave my cell phone alone.

I need it to call my representatives and bitch about the burger-eating, coffee-drinking, CD-changing asshole who just cut me off.

33 Comments:

At January 29, 2006 8:24 PM, Blogger BuffyICS replied to my musings ...

I'm much more nervous in traffic when I see a guy shaving or a woman putting on makeup--last year I saw a woman actually painting her nails in stop-and-go traffic. At least talking on your cell phone doesn't require very much concentration.

 
At January 30, 2006 7:07 AM, Blogger Ben Heller replied to my musings ...

Over here, cell phone use has been banned in cars for a couple of years and it seems to have made little difference to the accident figures.

In my opinion the major cause of most major multiple car accidents is tiredness, and with that in mind, at least the cellphone keeps you awake.

 
At January 30, 2006 9:03 AM, Blogger Metal Mark replied to my musings ...

I have about a 50 minute commute to work and drivers with cell phones aren't generally any worse than those without. I have seen people reading books at stop and go traffic, now that was scary because I am sure they never really looked up at traffic.

 
At January 30, 2006 9:05 AM, Blogger The Phoenix replied to my musings ...

We should really ban female drivers, actually.

It is scientifically proven that the way the typical woman's brain works doesn't make for a very good driver.

Women are WAY more able to multi-task than men...it's a generalization, but an accurate one. Men are wired to simply focus on one task at a time.

When it comes to driving, men are much better at concentrating wheras women are more easily distracted by the way their brains are wired. Their ability to focus on mulitple things at once spreads their concentration too thin.

 
At January 30, 2006 12:25 PM, Blogger KC replied to my musings ...

Phoenix, when we do finally meet, I'll have to hit you upside the head for your above comment. heehee!

I won't answer the cell if I'm driving. First of all because I can't usually read the caller id and I refuse to answer the phone unless I know who I'm going to be talking to. Maybe I'm paranoid.

 
At January 30, 2006 1:12 PM, Blogger David Amulet replied to my musings ...

Buffy, Mark: I can top you both. Today I saw somebody doing a crossword puzzle balanced on their steering wheel while doing 60 mph.

Ben: Methinks that fatigue is also the main cause of bad blog articles. In fact, I have been very tired lately ...

Phoenix: Evidence to back up your assertion notwithstanding, I think you've just seeded the blogosphere's clouds for a gender-based shitstorm.

KC: Look at it this way--you'll be able to hit Phoenix upsdie the head AND perform other tasks at the same time, whiel Phoenix will only be able to say "OUCH!"

-- david

 
At January 30, 2006 1:17 PM, Blogger Perplexio replied to my musings ...

I prefer hands-free devices for talking on the cell while driving. I just like to be able to keep both hands on the wheel, or at least available.

If I have to use my right hand to talk on my cell while driving, I have to switch to my left hand in order to use cruise control and/or my windshiled wipers.

If I use my left hand to talk on my cell while driving I need to switch the phone to my right hand to signal a turn. It's just a pain in the ass in general.

I don't mind the law-- if anything I'm hoping it prompts auto manufacturers to make new cars more cell phone friendly, so hopefully hands-free vs. non hands-free will cease to be an issue and the need for the law will become obsolete.

 
At January 30, 2006 3:19 PM, Blogger angel, jr. replied to my musings ...

I'm not talented enough to talk and drive at the same time.

 
At January 30, 2006 3:19 PM, Blogger Stacy The Peanut Queen replied to my musings ...

Ooo...I have to disagree MUCHLY with The Phoneix on that one...due to personal experience. The Peanut King is the one who gets VERY distracted while driving and I am constanly on him about "Hey, Hey, HEY!!! Stay in your lane!" He gets way more distracted than I do. It's downright scary sometimes....

 
At January 30, 2006 3:41 PM, Blogger David Amulet replied to my musings ...

Perplexio and Angel make a good point--maybe it's a matter of skill. Perhaps if us guys had been meant to drive, eat, drink, change the radio, and talk on a cell phone all at once, evolution would have provided us with plenty of tentacles.

And wouldn't the ladies just love that!

Stacy: I suggest that you offer to duel Phoenix on Beauty Versus the Beast!

-- david

 
At January 30, 2006 4:46 PM, Blogger Pixie replied to my musings ...

In the UK its illegal to use a cell phone in a car unless its on a hands free thingy.
But people take little notice of the law and carry on yapping anyway....

 
At January 30, 2006 7:41 PM, Blogger siren replied to my musings ...

I agree there are a lot of bad drivers out there and it has nothing to do with talking on the cellphone. We're so often falling under that "punish one, punish all" umbrella.

The Phoenix fails to realize that banning women drivers would be removing the only people that actually KNEW where they were going, rather than driving in circles.

 
At January 30, 2006 8:35 PM, Blogger :P fuzzbox replied to my musings ...

I never answer my cell phone while driving. I consider commuting as my peaceful time when I don't have to talk to anyone. That and it's hard to drive, talk on a cell phone, slug down a Big Gulp, eat Fritos and Bean Dip, Smoke, read the morning news, and flip passing motorists the bird at the same time. Something had to go.

 
At January 30, 2006 10:22 PM, Blogger Godwhacker replied to my musings ...

I agree that these kind of laws seek to lower us all to the lowest common denominator.

The important thing is to know your limits. The way you do that is by self-awareness. I have been guilty of taking too much attention of the road and on to my cell phone.

The solution is I put the phone right in my drink holder, so if it rings I know right where it is. Right where my coffee and doughnuts used to go:)

 
At January 30, 2006 10:38 PM, Blogger illimitable voices replied to my musings ...

In regards to your post below titled, Reflections on Faith, Pat Robertson, and Nacho Trays, is it possible that God hates cell phones and thus, unjustly convincing legislators to ban them?

just a thought.

 
At January 31, 2006 4:50 AM, Blogger Laurie replied to my musings ...

LOL @ fuzz!!

I totally agree w/you on this one, David. And it's funny how it coincides with my Stephen King book review ;-)

 
At January 31, 2006 7:09 AM, Blogger David Amulet replied to my musings ...

Wow, it looks like it's "gang up on Phoenix day." But he DID ask for it ...

Good job Fuzz and Godwhacker--you have your priorities in line.

Voices: If God is the invisible hand behind all our legislation, then I'm as confused as you are. What's the holy message underlying turnip research?

-- david

 
At January 31, 2006 9:35 AM, Blogger Laura:) replied to my musings ...

LOL, does it make me a bad women to say that I agree with Phoenix only because I DON'T LIKE driving. I would rather be driven around while I eat my food and talk on the cell phone.

I teach defensive driving(ironically) and cell phones do distract people but the number one cause has always been the RADIO. Eating comes a very close second.

 
At January 31, 2006 9:56 AM, Blogger ticharu replied to my musings ...

I think people can walk and talk on a phone with relatively little danger. I'd ban the cars!

Hey, the best concert I ever saw was Iggy Pop in 1978!

The worst show was Fleetwood Mac!

The concert which ruined my hearing was The Flaming Lips in the 1990s.

The first concert I saw was Kiss & Uriah Heep.

 
At January 31, 2006 12:01 PM, Blogger KristieD replied to my musings ...

I think you are right, its not the cell phone- its the people. The jackasses that need to retake driver's ed. I really have grown to hate driving because of all the retards out on the road. They just do the dumbest things...cell phone or no.

 
At January 31, 2006 12:05 PM, Blogger Kid Jacque replied to my musings ...

I get all my talking done while in my truck driving.....

 
At January 31, 2006 12:43 PM, Blogger David Amulet replied to my musings ...

If Laura's right about the radio, that means Ticharu can't walk, talk, and have his iPod on the same time. A child, pet, or random marsupial could be trampled as a result of his distracted walking.

Kristie: Is one of those bad drivers you're referring to a truck driver? If so, watch out for our friend the Day Dreamer ...

-- david

 
At January 31, 2006 1:31 PM, Blogger Dirk the Feeble replied to my musings ...

Just because other things cause car accidents doesn't mean cell phones DON'T. I mean, I'm sure starting a campfire in your passenger's seat will increase your odds of having a wreck, but hey, since jelly donuts already cause that probability to increase exponentially then what's the point of banning passenger-seat campfires, right?

 
At January 31, 2006 4:14 PM, Blogger Tai replied to my musings ...

Heck, let's just ban the cars and be done with it!

"Cars don't kill people...PEOPLE kill people!"

 
At January 31, 2006 4:46 PM, Blogger Anhoni Patel replied to my musings ...

First of all: PHOENIX!!! What the hell!

Second of all: I have to say I ABSOLUTELY HATE when people drive and talk on their cellphones. I was actually just thinking about this very issue on the way to work (on my bike). But I have to say that I enjoyed the points that you brought up and that I do look at it in a different light. Even though I still hate it.

Thirdly: Thanks for stopping by!

 
At January 31, 2006 5:09 PM, Blogger Jamie Dawn replied to my musings ...

I'm much more distracted when I'm trying to eat & drive, than when I'm talking on my cell & driving. I'm just so worried that some food is gonna drip onto my clothes. That would be just awful!
I refuse to be one of those ladies (usually quite portly) who I see trotting around town with lunch stains on their shirts.
I'm better off eating at home.

 
At January 31, 2006 7:35 PM, Blogger ticharu replied to my musings ...

Hey I can walk, talk, blog, roll a joint, gut a hedgehog, shave and brush my tooth whilst chatting on a cell phone thingy with one hand on the wheel and one eye on David in the back seat doing God knows what! :)

 
At January 31, 2006 7:39 PM, Blogger David Amulet replied to my musings ...

Armaedes: I think we agree that people who drive like shit because they are on a cell phone should be busted for driving like shit. But in response to your main point, I might paraphrase Tai: People who talk on cell phones while driving may kill people ... but people who eat, drink, talk to passengers, or change the radio station while driving kill MORE people--yet nobody is clamoring to ban their activities.

Isn't it ironic; don't you think? It's like rain on your wedding day ...

Jamie: Right on. When we spiil something on our clothes while driving, we instinctively clean the mess right away. Our shirt's appearance, sadly, weighs more heavily on us at that moment than our view of the road ahead.

Proposed solution: Drive naked.

Or borrow Ahoni's bike.

-- david

 
At January 31, 2006 8:05 PM, Blogger Ranea replied to my musings ...

Who has time to talk? There's way too many jerk-offs to cuss at and flip off! And I almost forgot, tailgating the bastard who just cut me off.

 
At January 31, 2006 9:55 PM, Blogger The Phoenix replied to my musings ...

I love stirring the pot...it's fun. I shouldn't talk, actually. Once, I was looking at a map while driving and almost got hit by a train.

 
At January 31, 2006 11:38 PM, Blogger CT replied to my musings ...

drive dialing is the best....

 
At February 01, 2006 12:57 AM, Blogger illimitable voices replied to my musings ...

David - If in fact God is the invisible hand behind all our legislation, we must search for the message underlying turnip research.

Here it is:


Turnip research is necessary because all turnips want to be beets.

Beets want to be sugarcane (Beets lost the war of sugar to sugarcane; they produce more refined sugar per pound than cane but they are much more expensive to grow).

And, God brought sugarcane to the americas in order to enlave millions of poor people. There is the link

:-)

 
At February 02, 2006 9:46 PM, Blogger Video X replied to my musings ...

hahaha good! the biggest thing that ticks me off about the cellphone laws...i can't pump gas on my phone. WHAT??!!!! are you kidding me? if the electricity actually arcs from my cell phone to the fuel while i'm pumping gas...then guess what people...I DESERVED TO DIE AT THE GAS STATION! and i'm TOTALLY okay with that. if it happens, i fully believe...it was my time. i'm okay with it...so why then does the gas station controller shut me off????????? i'm not going to sue! i'm dead! hello! btw: they have actually shut off my gas pump for this mid-fill. made me read a sign about static electricity. i'm an electrical engineer. let me take my risks.

 

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