Quick, hang up! There’s a cop!

The latest rage that is sweeping the country is about to hit Arizona – “Hands Free” Cell Phone legislation. What this means is that you would be required to have a speakerphone installed in your car or to use a headset in order to talk on the phone while driving. Emergency personnel and commercial truck drivers conducting legitimate business would be exempt.

In terms of laws that interfere with personal liberties, this one is pretty close to the top of my list of laws that make me angry. First of all, I am not convinced that scrambling around to find your headset in order to answer a call while driving is less dangerous than just picking up the phone and putting it to your ear. Second, it’s just as distracting to eat or smoke while driving as it is to use one hand to talk on your cell phone. Finally, I spend a lot of time in DC for work where a “Hands Free” law has been in place for about a year now. The DC city council is notorious for coming up with new revenue generating schemes, so I’ve always assumed that was the intent of the “Hands Free” law there. But I have yet to see a study showing a significant decrease in the number of accidents or road rage incidents as a result of such laws. I know I’m experiencing just as much road rage myself, because unfortunately “Hands Free” laws don’t eliminate stupid drivers!

Hopefully the Arizona legislature will have more common sense than other states and strike down this ridiculous piece of legislation.

3 Comments so far

  1. Brian (unregistered) on January 9th, 2006 @ 11:39 am

    I think this legislation got shot down once before a few years ago.

    Personally it doesn’t affect me, I instituted a company policy that requires all my employees to have hands free speakerphones installed in all of our work trucks. I love mine, and haven’t had to play the crooked neck look in over three years. I think the best thing about the hands free is that you can keep two hands for driving, which actually allows you to use that blinker thingy while being on the phone. I think it gets tough for some people to carry on a conversation, constantly communicate to your hand the the phone needs to keep in constant contact with the side of your head, and operate a moving weapon all at the same time. With my hands free it’s not much different than carrying on a conversation with someone else in the car. I can look over my shoulder normally, and keep both hands on the wheel when doing lane changes. I think it’s a good idea.

    Do I think it’s infringing on our personal liberties? Maybe, but remember, drivings not a right, it’s a privalige. And if someone can’t control there car because they are too busy holding up their phone, then that’s infringing on my liberty to stay alive while making a living. Now I do think that the law should only be enforced on those driving wrecklessly, and should possibly be an addition to a wreckless driving charge, much like a DUI. If you’re driving wrecklesly while talking on a cell phone the fine should be a multiple of the normal wreckless driving charge.

    That’s just my two shilings. I’ll get off my soapbox now and donate it to some kid so he can build a race car out of it.

  2. Heather (unregistered) on January 9th, 2006 @ 12:19 pm

    Brian – you hit the nail on the head. The problem is wreckless drivers – not what they are actually doing while wrecklessly driving, whether it’s eating, smoking, talking on the phone, talking to other people in the car, reading, changing the CD, whatever. Wreckless drivers should definitely be punished, regardless of what they are doing. Cell phone users shouldn’t be singled out.

  3. Heather (unregistered) on January 9th, 2006 @ 1:05 pm

    And yes, I just realized the correct word is reckless, not wreckless. :)

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