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June 2012
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No difference between hands-free cell, talking to passengers



I read with great interest the recent Sun editorial (as well as the republished Chicago Sun-Times editorial) regarding the banning of cell phones while driving. Both editorials suggest that even hands-free usage being banned should be the ultimate goal.

While I agree that banning cell phone usage via any means other than hands-free is a good idea, I can't understand the difference in hands-free usage and carrying on a conversation with a passenger in the car. Can someone please explain that difference to me?

I understand that eliminating any possible distraction for the driver is the goal, but if you eliminate hands-free, then it seems to me that you also make it illegal for the driver to speak to anyone in the car. Maybe you even expand that to eliminate all speaking while the car is in motion. After all, two other people talking to each other could be distracting as well, right?

And how about those pesky gauges on the dash? The driver might glance down to check their speed, or fuel level, or the GPS, or - well, you get the picture. Oh, and don't forget the radio or the CD. Music could definitely distract some drivers, not to mention audio books.

My point is that while I think the intent is a noble one, you start down a very slippery slope when you propose banning even hands-free cell phone usage. Let's ban any usage that requires the driver to physically interact with the phone by any means other than voice commands or pushing one single button on the device, or the dashboard, and I would totally support such a requirement/law.



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