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My pal Kailani at An Island Life hosts Aloha Friday, based upon a very popular term used in Hawaii when island residents take it easy and look forward to the upcoming weekend – kind of like T.G.I.F.

Each Friday, Kailani posts a simple question or topic of conversation. Visitors leave a comment on Kailani’s site and then post a question or short discussion topic on their own site. Participants visit each others’ sites and respond with a comment! Even if you do not post a question or topic on your site, you can still play by simply leaving a comment!

Here’s my question for this edition:

In California, drivers are prohibited from using a cell phone while operating a motor vehicle unless they use a hands-free device.  In other words, on July 1, 2008, it became illegal to utilize a cell phone while driving if the phone must be held up to the driver’s ear with one hand.

Do you talk on your cell phone while driving?  If so, do you use a hands-free device?  Why or why not?

My answer:

I got my first cell phone in 1994, and have been talking while driving ever since. If I didn’t talk on my cell phone while driving, it would be much harder for me to work since I regularly travel on business. The vast majority of my business travel is comprised of one-day trips made via motor vehicle. So it is not unusual for me to spend a couple of hours driving to and from meetings, hearings, etc. and that’s a lot of time to be unavailable by telephone.

In late June, I, like millions of other Californians, purchased a Bluetooth headset. At first, I hated the way it felt on my ear. But I have gotten used to it — in fact, I almost jumped into the pool with it on my ear the other day, because I no longer feel it and forgot I had it on. I’m not thrilled about having one more thing I have to remember to take with me every time I leave the house, however.

And I am frustrated by the fact that every time the battery needs to be recharged, I have to pare it with both of my Blackberries (personal and business) again. It is not only one more thing to take with me, it is one more task to perform on a regular basis. In fact, the first device I purchased was defective and had to be exchanged after several hours of trying to get it to function properly. (I kept re-reading the directions, thinking, “It can’t be this hard!” Indeed, it isn’t.)

In the long run, I don’t believe that the new law will have any impact on the incidence of traffic accidents related to cell phone usage. To answer an incoming call using a hands-free device, a driver need only click the button on the device. However, unless your cell phone features voice-activated dialing (mine do), you must still pick up the telephone and dial the number or speed dialing code. Moreover, a lot of people still read and send emails and text messages while driving. (I read and send them while stopped at red lights.) So, in the long run, I am of the opinion that the new law is only going to benefit one group: The manufacturers and retailers of Bluetooth devices.


8 Comments

  1. My state has the same law (for a while now actually) and is working on adding a part about no texting/e-mailing. I never liked to talk on the phone without a hands free on prior to this. It always made me nervous to have one hand busy holding the phone. Reflexes are only so good, those few seconds without your hands or with your eyes off the road could not only harm you, but many other people in the process. I truly hope that more laws are put on the books, especially about texting. It still floors me when I see people on highways traveling 65+ mph and texting.

    Have a great weekend.

  2. We don’t have that law, but it isn’t going to work. Here we have a law that noone under 18 can use a cell while driving. They will lose their lisence! It is a great law!
    I do drive while on my cell, but I really don’t drive much, so it isn’t often. If I have the stick shift, I get off before having to shift, like in town, lol.

  3. I haven’t had to used my bluetooth in so long I’ve forgotten how. I rarely use my cell phone however when I do and I’m driving I will be using my bluetooth.

  4. We don’t have that law here but we should. I don’t use my bluetooth (can’t stand it) and I hardly ever talk on the phone while driving – kids learn by example and I don’t want them talking on their cell phones and driving when they grow up.

  5. It always made me nervous to have one hand busy holding the phone. Reflexes are only so good, those few seconds without your hands or with your eyes off the road could not only harm you, but many other people in the process.

  6. We have a law and once in a while I will talk on the phone while driving, but I don’t have long conversations. All the time its an incoming call and I take it answer their question and hang up. If it gets too long, I tell them I have to go. I hate the phone, once I did put it on speaker to continue the conversation.

  7. no I have a handsfree set if I have to talk but I wait til I am stopped to dial or I use the voice command

  8. If it gets too long, I tell them I have to go. I hate the phone, once I did put it on speaker to continue the conversation.

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