Tuesday, April 01, 2008

New Cellphone Laws in Quebec and Nova Scotia

These provinces have joined Newfoundland to ban the use of hand-held cell phones while driving. I think this legislation is right on. Every day, I see drivers making mistakes that could cost them a serious accident - while talking on their phones. Some drivers of course take this even further and talk on the phone while driving, eating, drinking, smoking, reading a map, reading a newspaper, shaving, applying make-up and so on. I accept that we humans are multi-tasking maniacs, and I accept that there are situations where most drivers could handle a call while driving. I firmly believe, though, that when something sudden and bad happens, talking on the phone is doing one too many things. I believe it slows reaction time and distracts attention.

I should say that I'm a pretty conservative driver. I take my time and I try to be considerate to other drivers. Occasionally I will honk a horn or mutter an expletive to the idiot who has just cut me off, but I don't drive aggressively. I just don't need to get anywhere that fast.

The new laws won't mean much because they will be ignored and unenforced. Sorry to be a cup-half-empty guy about this but I think it is the way it is. It's the same with the weavers, who can't stand to have any car in front of them at any time. I see these characters every day, but I never see them get pulled over by the cops. They just keep driving that way until they have a smash-up.

Personally, I don't need to talk to anyone badly enough to do it while I'm driving somewhere. I don't own a cell, and for now at least, I'm OK about that. My friends know my schedule and when they are likely to reach me, and I do have a voice mail, if somebody wants to leave a message.

Sometimes I see two people walking together down the street, each talking on their cell to somebody else. Who do these people talk to? I just don't have enough friends....


Wandering Coyote said...

I also think this is a great law, but yeah, it won't be enforced. Like you (and I live in the boonies),I see way too many people talking on phones while driving and it IS dangerous. I also like the no smoking in the vehicle if there's a passenger under 18 law, but that won't be enforced, either.

I don't think cell phones make us more connected - I think the opposite is true. Those people you see walking down the street together, each talking on a cell, are not connecting with each other or their environment. I also can't stand these people, who in the grocery store, are on their phones going "So, should I buy X cereal? Do you Y for dinner?" This isn't connection, either. This is disorganization at it's highest. Whatever happened to spending a few minutes during the day and making a list?

Karen said...

Strathcona county (just outside of Edmonton) is looking at passing a similar law. I hope they do and the rest of the province follows suit asap. I understand the need for cell phones at certain times - emergencies, etc. But how on earth did we get to the point where we need to reach someone (and be reached) anywhere at any time???

Speaking of unenforced laws, our city recently upped the fine for jawalking from $40 to $250! It's supposed to deter people from doing it but chances are it won't have much effect - how many cops are going to pull over to write a ticket to a pedestrian?

Red said...

We have such a law here in the UK and it is blatantly ignored. I often see drivers holding the phone with one hand and changing gear with the other. Who's holding the steering wheel? Nobody, that's who. Tell me if this isn't an accident waiting to happen.

I really really abhor mobile phones. I have one, but I can't remember the last time I used it. I don't even know what my number is, I have to rely on Asterisk to tell people when they ask me.

And now there's talk of letting people use their phone mid-flight. God help us all...

Gardenia said...

Cell phones are the greatest invention ever if you have children.

No one should talk while driving - I had a boss that I rode with while she ate chicken nuggets and talked on her cell - I was scared to death. If its that important, pull over!

I own a cell phone - but I sometimes feel like throwing it in the garbage. Some who try to reach me get down right hostile if I don't answer the phone immediately. Most times I don't carry it on me, and often can't move fast enough or care to try to reach it before it stops it's two cycle ring.

Besides, its cheaper if I return the call during my free minutes.

Now, "texting" is something else again - takes two hands - love to see someone texting and driving with their knees. Whee.

Tailgaters - nothing more annoying than someone riding the rear of your car, honking because one is traveling the speed limit. I sometimes pull off the road so they can arrive at that stop light 2 seconds earlier than I. We used to have a secretary that worked at the same agency as the knee driver boss that would come to work enraged because of "them idiot drivers who drive the speed limit and make me late."


My sin? Getting in my car and forgetting I am part of anything on this earth - sight seeing, day dreaming. In Wyoming in the old days when you would see one car per 100 miles, I would read and drive. I confessed didn't I? Sometimes a bad driver is just a bad driver and it doesn't matter if its a cell phone or a book or inattention.

tshsmom said...

Right on!!
I recently read a study that said even hands-free cell use while driving cuts the drivers response time by 50%.

The only thing that annoys me more than "weavers", are the drivers who use the shoulder as a passing lane. :(

sp said...

I hope that law comes to BC. It is frightening to watch the poor driving that goes on as a result of cellphone use.
I don't own a cellphone either because there's no one I need to talk to that badly. Although I have thought about getting one simply for safety reasons. If I do get one I promise to never use it in a car unless I've got a flat. Oh yes...I don't have a car either so it shouldn't be an issue. I promise not to bike and use my cellphone. I have seen this too!