Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Cell phones and driving

I have to laugh when I read a story like this. Basically, a journalist has realized that driving while talking on a hands-free cellphone is equally as distracting as driving with a normal cell phone (which the rest of the intelligent world already knew). Moreover, there is a suspicion that people will be less attentive when talking on a hands-free, because it's supposed to be safer.

What's funny is that having an involved conversation on a hands-free is worse for driving performance than driving drunk; but hands-free is encouraged, and drunk driving is very much discouraged. Just goes to show how dumb politicians make dumb laws.

Side note: the "right" solution, imo, is to make neither one illegal on its face, but make fines and penalties multiplicatively worse if you're doing something illegal or dangerous while in any enumerated "distracted driving" state. So if you're driving like a moron, it's an 'x' dollar fine; if you're drunk or on a cell phone while doing so, it's '3x'. I have no problem with someone driving home drunk slowly, being very careful, and end-result driving more carefully than 99% of sober people, especially compared to someone weaving through traffic while conducting complex business deals on a hands-free. You should be cognizant that you're doing something more dangerous than un-distracted driving, knowingly take more responsibility for the end-result of your actions, and hopefully drive better during the times when you are driving distracted.

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