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post #1 of 24 Old Jun 18th, 2008, 6:39 pm Thread Starter
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Question Hands-free phones only while driving in CA as of July 1st

As of July 1st it will be illegal to use a handheld cell phone while driving in California. That's the good news!

The bad news is that I have not yet seen any change in drivers' habits with less than 2 weeks to go. You would think that by now many would have switched to a hands-free system, especially since this law was announced some time last year.

Are you seeing any habit changes in other states where similar laws are in effect?

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post #2 of 24 Old Jun 18th, 2008, 6:58 pm
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Re: Hands-free phones only while driving in CA as of July 1st

From what I understand it does not make any difference if you are using a hands-free phone or holding it up to your ear.

You're brain is still totally disengaged.

I've tried both while in my car - and blown past exits, missed stop signs, drove 30 in a 45 zone and pretty much been in la-la land. 100% in the ozone.
I've always felt that I was a fairly good driver but there is a total disconnect with me and driving while on the phone.

I don't even bother any more unless I can pull over and stop to answer it.


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post #3 of 24 Old Jun 18th, 2008, 7:42 pm
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Re: Hands-free phones only while driving in CA as of July 1st

Quote:
Originally Posted by zippy_gg
As of July 1st it will be illegal to use a handheld cell phone while driving in California. That's the good news!

The bad news is that I have not yet seen any change in drivers' habits with less than 2 weeks to go. You would think that by now many would have switched to a hands-free system, especially since this law was announced some time last year.

Are you seeing any habit changes in other states where similar laws are in effect?
I don't think most worry about these new laws. Most know it's a matter of enforcement. I see out date tags, illegal tinting, no belts, tailgating, on and on and on. Maybe even an occasional speeder . Laws are being ignored and broken at a rate that far exceeds the traffic flow. Someone is going to have to draw attention to themselves before a "law" is going to kick in and effect them. Heck, based on a thread a couple of months ago, you might not even have to stop at a stop sign if the officer is in the right mood .
There may be an initial crack down to generate some revenue and raise awareness, but after that I don't expect to see much of a change. Wonder how hard the makers of the hands free devices had to lobby for this law?

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post #4 of 24 Old Jun 18th, 2008, 8:25 pm
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Re: Hands-free phones only while driving in CA as of July 1st

Quote:
Originally Posted by RonKMiller
From what I understand it does not make any difference if you are using a hands-free phone or holding it up to your ear.

You're brain is still totally disengaged.

I've tried both while in my car - and blown past exits, missed stop signs, drove 30 in a 45 zone and pretty much been in la-la land. 100% in the ozone.
I've always felt that I was a fairly good driver but there is a total disconnect with me and driving while on the phone.

I don't even bother any more unless I can pull over and stop to answer it.
Same here, Ron. 32 years with using mobile/cell phones, and some of the time having the necessity to use, I still 'cluck' myself on occasion as to "what route did I just take to git home?", or "wuz there a stop sign back there?", or 'damn, how'd I git here so quick?" You're quite right in that one's brain has difficulty processing data from an 'unseen' source, while at the same time, trying to process data from 'seen' sources. I know I've made some stupid moves during driving and phoning - recognized 'em AFTER the fact, in most cases - and just fortunate nothing bad happened. Thankfully, the other party wuz paying attention!
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post #5 of 24 Old Jun 18th, 2008, 9:15 pm
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Re: Hands-free phones only while driving in CA as of July 1st

They passed the same law in Chicago a fair time ago. The first few weeks many tickets were issued and it was all over the news. Now it has faded away and I am not sure they enforce it at all.
I am with Ron and Dick I use a cell phone sparingly, not a good multitasker.

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post #6 of 24 Old Jun 19th, 2008, 7:44 am
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Re: Hands-free phones only while driving in CA as of July 1st

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Originally Posted by gglove
I am with Ron and Dick I use a cell phone sparingly, not a good multitasker.
+1 on that.

In Detroit, they finally passed a law to make it illegal to TEXT while driving. Of course, this is just what the news reported to boost ratings. The ordinance actually prohibits the use of cell phones (except with a hands free device) while driving in the city limits. That was a few months ago, and I haven't seen any change in the number of drivers with a phone stuck to their ear.

But here's a question that I have. I know that EVERYONE has a cell phone in this day and age, but how come this issue of inattention while driving never came up when CBs were all the rage? That's just as bad if you ask me.

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post #7 of 24 Old Jun 19th, 2008, 9:07 am
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Re: Hands-free phones only while driving in CA as of July 1st

Had someone come into my lane this morning, they were texting. I am sure it was of great importance at 6:00AM.

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post #8 of 24 Old Jun 19th, 2008, 9:52 am
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Re: Hands-free phones only while driving in CA as of July 1st

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Originally Posted by dlbushey
+1 on that.

In Detroit, they finally passed a law to make it illegal to TEXT while driving. Of course, this is just what the news reported to boost ratings. The ordinance actually prohibits the use of cell phones (except with a hands free device) while driving in the city limits. That was a few months ago, and I haven't seen any change in the number of drivers with a phone stuck to their ear.

But here's a question that I have. I know that EVERYONE has a cell phone in this day and age, but how come this issue of inattention while driving never came up when CBs were all the rage? That's just as bad if you ask me.
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post #9 of 24 Old Jun 19th, 2008, 10:13 am
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Re: Hands-free phones only while driving in CA as of July 1st

Quote:
Originally Posted by zippy_gg
As of July 1st it will be illegal to use a handheld cell phone while driving in California. That's the good news!

The bad news is that I have not yet seen any change in drivers' habits with less than 2 weeks to go. You would think that by now many would have switched to a hands-free system, especially since this law was announced some time last year.

Are you seeing any habit changes in other states where similar laws are in effect?
Yep... I be talkin' about that right here!

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post #10 of 24 Old Jun 19th, 2008, 10:45 am
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Re: Hands-free phones only while driving in CA as of July 1st

All this means is that these idiots with a flashing bluetooth device attached to their ear is going to look over at you with this 1000 yard stare and then pull into your lane!

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post #11 of 24 Old Jun 19th, 2008, 10:50 am
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Re: Hands-free phones only while driving in CA as of July 1st

I can see the advantage of not having to hold a phone to ones ear while driving. However, what is the difference between talking handsfree on the phone and talking to a passager while driving?
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post #12 of 24 Old Jun 19th, 2008, 11:33 am
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Re: Hands-free phones only while driving in CA as of July 1st

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Originally Posted by BEhrler
I can see the advantage of not having to hold a phone to ones ear while driving. However, what is the difference between talking handsfree on the phone and talking to a passager while driving?
None, or eating a sandwhich, or drinking water, or thinking about that article you need to write for the website, or how pissed off you are about some idiotic post you read on BMWLT, or yelling at your kids who won't sit still, or just plain being tired after a long day. The problem is inattentive driving, and it's been a part of driving since people started riding horses. But if you're inattentive because of a phone, now it's a major deal.

I can understand the hysteria to a point, because some people, especially the younger ones (okay, the younger female ones), are on it constantly and this makes them inattentive a higher percentage of the time, but it's not what they're doing that's a problem, so much as how often they're doing it, and hands free will not change that.

There's also the "drive with 2 hands" mantra that makes some sense. Drinking a coke ties up one hand for a moment, whereas a phone call for much longer. So, I see some benefits in the law, but the hysteria that surrounds cell phone use isn't justified.

I was walking to lunch yesterday and a lady in a minivan full of kids was so busy trying to do whatever she was trying to do that she didn't see me and made a right turn in front of me when I had the walk sign. It was clear to me she wasn't paying attention so I didn't put myself in harms way. I tapped her minivan as she went by to let her know I was there. Maybe that "oh" moment will help her pay better attention. We've all been guilty of such things. I don't think we need a law banning kids in minivans. Maybe just banning kids, though. Yessss.

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post #13 of 24 Old Jun 19th, 2008, 11:55 am
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Re: Hands-free phones only while driving in CA as of July 1st

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Originally Posted by UncleMark
Yep... I be talkin' about that right here!
Nice write-up Uncle Mark. You hit the nail on the head.

Inattentive driving is an offense, and an LEO can use his judgment on how inattentive you are. Hopefully he's driven by a sense of justice, and not a quota. I'm pretty sure reading the paper will get you a ticket, and so will shaving.If you're clueless while driving and talking on the phone, you should get one too. A new law really isn't needed, in my opinion. It makes it easier to enforce, but takes away the discretion of the LEO.

Your "no distractions" idea is the natural extension of these laws (I know you weren't serious), but there is a problem. White line fever will set in if you just drive with no sensory input. You need some distractions. The brain cannot focus on 1 thing for long periods of time, at least mine can't. It's the balance that can be elusive. But when I've had enough arguing with the wife, I may try the "Honey, you're distracting me from driving". I don't think it'll work.

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post #14 of 24 Old Jun 19th, 2008, 1:07 pm
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Re: Hands-free phones only while driving in CA as of July 1st

Quote:
Originally Posted by BEhrler
I can see the advantage of not having to hold a phone to ones ear while driving. However, what is the difference between talking handsfree on the phone and talking to a passager while driving?
The passenger knows to STFU when you're doing something with the car. The person on the other end of the cellphone doesn't.

Also the passenger (if they drive) is probably looking around too, and will tell the driver about stuff. This helped save my bacon once when a driver started to merge right into my lane (trying to cut across it onto an offramp at the last minute) and his passenger yelled at him.

The radio also doesn't engage your brain the same way a cellphone conversation (or text message conversation) does.

Yeah, the handsfree solution is crap, and won't make a bit of difference. The good news is insurance companies are catching on and will check cell records. Over time that will at least provide some more incentive to get off the phone.

I don't take calls from people who are driving any more. If I hear they're on the road I just tell them to call me back after they've stopped, it's never that urgent.
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post #15 of 24 Old Jun 19th, 2008, 8:10 pm
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Re: Hands-free phones only while driving in CA as of July 1st

I also think that the "hands free" argument doesn't really hold water. If you're yakking on the phone, you're distracted.
I do think it will keep a lot of younger drivers from text messaging each other while driving. That, IMHO, is far more distracting than talking on the phone, because it involves taking your eyes off the road to see the incoming message. Also, when someone has a cellphone held to their ear, the hand that holds it often creates a huge blind spot on that side of the drivers field of vision.
We don't have a hands-free law here - yet - but a lot of neighboring states do, so I have a hands free headset. The only time I have ever made an outgoing call while driving was to call 911 to report a drunk driver. Anything else can wait until I stop. If I do get an incoming call, I try to keep it as short as possible.

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post #16 of 24 Old Jun 19th, 2008, 9:19 pm
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Re: Hands-free phones only while driving in CA as of July 1st

I agree with usning the hands free.
We listen to a radio, talk radio.
We talk to a passenger hands free.
What about all those truckers using a CB they hold a mic.
How come there is no up roar about that?
What about us using CBs in our helmets?
or phone calls from our bluetooth or listening to the GPS?
Where would you draw the line? hmmmm?

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post #17 of 24 Old Jun 19th, 2008, 9:23 pm
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Re: Hands-free phones only while driving in CA as of July 1st

Connecticut has had a handsfree law for a while now. It doesn't matter. I've even seen state police using them while driving.

I would think that if the government wanted the issue resolved they could force the cell providers to cut service to a phone detected to be in motion at some minimum speed for a minimum time, like 10MPH for 15 seconds. If that ability doesnt' exist in present technology, I'm sure it wouldn't take too much to get it working. And so what if your kids, wife or anyone else in the car, truck, bus couldn't talk either. If it's urgent, stop. Otherwise drive or enjoy the ride.

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post #18 of 24 Old Jun 21st, 2008, 3:25 pm
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Re: Hands-free phones only while driving in CA as of July 1st

Quote:
Originally Posted by zippy_gg
....The bad news is that I have not yet seen any change in drivers' habits with less than 2 weeks to go. You would think that by now many would have switched to a hands-free system, especially since this law was announced some time last year....
AND you WILL NOT, Gilles! This is more of the same empty, symbolism over substance, good time rock and roll FEEL good bullshit that kommyfornia is famous for. It would be virtually impossible to legislate away everything that could be a distraction while driving.

Of course, LOGIC might cause one to ask: what about shaving, makeup, eating and messing with the stereo, while driving? But, I digress. Why be logical when we can pass more feel good useless/pointless legislation and fly by the seat of our emotions?!

Just like our silly helmet laws, I WILL NOT be enforcing this, either.

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post #19 of 24 Old Jun 22nd, 2008, 3:32 pm
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Re: Hands-free phones only while driving in CA as of July 1st

Can't speak for cell phones but when PA enacted a manditory seatbelt law this lifetime seat belt user stopped wearing his seatbelt. Educate don't legislate.
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post #20 of 24 Old Jun 22nd, 2008, 5:31 pm
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Re: Hands-free phones only while driving in CA as of July 1st

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Can't speak for cell phones but when PA enacted a manditory seatbelt law this lifetime seat belt user stopped wearing his seatbelt. Educate don't legislate.
Wait a sec... you stopped taking a safety precaution that you were already used to because now there's a law? Um... that doesn't seem very wise. Do you only wear a helmet where there isn't a helmet law too? Did you speed up when the national speed limit was 55? ...sheesh.
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post #21 of 24 Old Jun 23rd, 2008, 12:37 am
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Re: Hands-free phones only while driving in CA as of July 1st

I agree with Jay, the left coast just seems to want to legislate everything. The next thing you know it will be against the law to sneeze or cough while driving.

I understand that a lot of people cannot multi-task while driving but in reality driving is muli-tasking. My wife gets on me all of the time when I do something while driving and I weave a little in one lane. I tell her to just close her eyes then she will not know I am weaving.

I am a lot older now then when I was working the streets, so I don't multi task as much but when I was on the street a good cop can drive with a cup of coffee between his legs, a burger in one hand, operate the mike or computer and look for the bad guy on the street all at the same time. Or sometimes write down a license number. It is all a matter of training and changing your focus. I have caught myself using the phone while driving and miss out on something in the conversation or stop talking because my focus is on driving for the moment. Then I go back to the conversation. Maybe it is our training but we try to stay alert all the time out in the public. It is called living in the yellow zone, ready to move into the red zone. Now being at home in the recliner watching a movie I am in the green zone, especially if my grandson is doing something he shouldn't and my wife yells at me to take care of him.

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post #22 of 24 Old Jun 23rd, 2008, 2:46 am
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Hands-free phones only while driving in CA as of July 1st

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Originally Posted by bonafidebob
Wait a sec... you stopped taking a safety precaution that you were already used to because now there's a law? Um... that doesn't seem very wise....
Yeah, Bob, sometimes I'll step out back and bang my head against a brick wall, also. At least it feels good when I stop!

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post #23 of 24 Old Jun 23rd, 2008, 2:54 am
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Hands-free phones only while driving in CA as of July 1st

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Originally Posted by robasay
....The next thing you know it will be against the law to sneeze or cough while driving....
Excellent point. Your eyes are closed a half second while sneezing. Do you have any idea how many feet you travel in a half second at 70mph?! EXTREMELY dangerous. Should be illegal. Better yet, how about a 5-10 day waiting period on sneezing?
Quote:
....a good cop can drive with a cup of coffee between his legs....
Sometimes my own shadow even sneaks up on me!

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post #24 of 24 Old Jun 23rd, 2008, 4:19 pm
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Re: Hands-free phones only while driving in CA as of July 1st

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Originally Posted by robasay
I agree with Jay, the left coast just seems to want to legislate everything. The next thing you know it will be against the law to sneeze or cough while driving.
Well, as I said before, I think the hands free law is likely to be ineffective. (Except maybe for balancing the budget ... an extra $100 per speeding stop can't hurt.)

But the new law isn't going to make it worse. And there's lots of evidence that talking on a cell phone makes you a worse driver. (My favorite is a MythBusters episode, where everyone who participated did better on the driving test when they were over the legal limit for alcohol than they did while talking on a cell phone. Or check this Engadget article)

Also, remember that traffic accidents are currently the 3rd biggest threat to a long life here in America. That is, you're most likely to die youngest due to traffic. I say it's worth doing something about that.

Assuming for a second that talking on the phone is just as imparing as driving drunk, then shouldn't it be just as punishable? Maybe that's a better solution -- if you're stopped for any other reason (speeding, accident, erratic driving, whatever) and you were on the phone at the time, you should face the same penalties as you would for being DUI. Yep, including loss of license, confiscation of the vehicle, etc. After all, you're just as much a danger to other people when you're yakking, right?

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