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Tremendous Upside w/ Dave & Niraj

Idiotic leaps of logicRants
I wasn't all that excited or interested in an article about how Chicago's supposed cell phone driving ban hasn't been very effective, and the lack of police enforcement being labeled the major reason for it. First off, I thought they've showed a few times now that you're just as distracted on a headset because it's the conversations people are having and not the physical act of holding the phone that's slowing their response time and increasing the chance of an accident. So it seems ineffective right from the start.

And yeah, I've seen dozens of people each week (probably even each workday) driving around with their phones to their ear. I usually tend to use my headset, but sometimes I get an incoming call and it's not connected or I forgot it at home or something, and I'm not going to avoid using my phone because of that.

But here's a real genius comment:
Chicago Police Sgt. Thomas West, of the traffic enforcement division, said, "We write our share of cell phone tickets."

But West Side resident Ernestine Funches disagrees. "I've seen police who see you on the phone and don't do anything," she said. "People don't have any respect for [the ban] because police don't enforce it."

"I think they should," Funches added, "because I know how distracted I get when I'm on the phone."
Well, la-di-freakin-da! Ernestine Funches can't drive while on her phone, so why should anyone else get to? We must all be just like her. There's no way some of us can actually drive and talk at the same time. By that logic, we should all drive at 40MPH on the highway and leave our blinkers on to respect those that forget they're driving on the damn highway and they've had their turn signal on since they left home in the morning. Someone should really get on enforcing that. While driving through intersections I also get distracted by bold and shiny objects, so let's go ahead and ban those too. Anything with metal or bright colors that's visible from the street must be taken down or painted over with muted colors.

Man, I can't believe it took this long to realize how great it would be if everyone else would just be forced by law to compensate for all of my deficiencies. How cool. Thanks Ernestine!

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  • [Untitled]
    Posted by: dave on Aug 13th, 2007 | 12:41pm

    I think it's pretty well proven that cell phones are a distraction while driving. Considering how many car accidents there are, I think the ban is a good idea.

    • [Untitled]
      Posted by: niraj on Aug 13th, 2007 | 12:49pm

      I'm not saying they're not distracting...I'm saying if they're not going with an all-out ban, then there's no point (or maybe a minimal benefit). In fact, I've even seen people fumbling around with their headsets in one hand and phone in the other, trying to get them to connect. So my point is if you're allowing headsets you're not really banning what's the truly distracting part, whether that's the conversation itself or the need to look at your phone (even with a headset, you'll check to make sure it dialed the right number, use buttons for touchtone systems, etc.).

      You want to go with an obvious ban? No reading while driving. People think just because it's rush hour they can pop a book or newspaper onto the steering wheel while stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic. I've seen it surpsingly often, and the person is always driving like an idiot...leaving a huge stopping distance since they're not paying attention and taking forever to move when traffic resumes moving.

    • [Untitled]
      Posted by: rishi on Aug 13th, 2007 | 02:16pm

      yeah, I also agree that its distracting, but i agree that its the conversations, and not the phone itself, that causes the issue. The only benefit the headset provides is the additional hand, but if there's a longer reaction time, i have a hard time believing that extra hand really matters.

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