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Channeling Jon Stewart today? Well said nonetheless.

Ditto.

these laws are comletely useless unless they are enforced.

In DC every other driver is talking on a hand-held cellphone - some doing extremely dangerous things - such as stopping at intersections during green lights ...

The perpertrators who drive and talk w/o hands free phones are a menace to all pedestrians and cyclists.

They should have their licenses taken away.

Zero tolerance.

People are DYING because of these selfish fools.

MPD had issued over 42,000 tickets for violating the cell phone ban as of September '09.

They've issued an increasing number each year since the ban went into effect in '05. I believe around 12,000 of those citations are from '08 alone.

Do they need to issue more tickets? Raise the fines? I still see dozens of people using phones while driving in DC every day. I'm really not sure what the answer is. There are just a ton of really really entitled people here.

I personally think all vehicles should come with two devices: breathalyzer ignition locks and a cell phone signal blocker that allows only 911 calls when the car is in gear. Not sure if the second actually exists, but it sure would be nice.

Gawd - AMEN to all of this!

I agree with w that the ban is pointless unless it's enforced. The last thing we need is more laws that aren't enforced.

stacey2545, it's probably a commentary on how infrequently people carpool that this seems like a good idea. Sort of like my wife's car's GPS system that won't let me operate it from the passenger seat when she's driving.

great commentary!! made me laugh...excellent!!

Even laws that aren't enforced have SOME value. Some people will try not to break the law just because it's against the law - even if they don't think they'll get caught. But more enforcement and education is needed. We also need to find a way to stigmatize this like they have drinking and driving. We need a movie were Meghan Fox's character dumps a guy for talking on the phone while driving...

good idea- make it socially un-cool

I am wary of such laws because the focus on specific activities distracts from the more important question of whether someone was driving with due care.

For example, in the Leyermeister case the driver was not ON the phone, but was rooting around for it when she hit him. I would say that rooting around for a phone when driving is worse than talking on one, but its not on the list of specifically prohibited activities like being drunk, on drugs, seriously over the speed limit, or unlicensed.

interesting point.

Much of this goes back to drivers education- which seems to be extremely lacking in this country.

Perhaps we would need less emphasis on "defensive cycling" classes if only the drivers had a more responsible attitude in the USA. As it is- far too many drivers- when NOT distracted- are aggressive and speed, and they are very menacing and dangerous towards cyclists.

Yep- distracted driving is the issue here. But I for one have noticed it has gotten a whole lot worse since the introduction of cell phones- sure it was there before- but it is a lot worse now.

There is some value in laws like this, as it removes the excuse of "...but it is not against the law..." after the fact as the body bag gets zippered closed.

Driving studies, where the subject is placed in a simulator and their performance is measured, show that cell phone conversations are particularly distracting. Much more so that conversing with a passenger or listening to the radio and on the par with driving while intoxicated.

Brain imaging of people engaged in cell phone conversations has begun to suggest why that may be so. It turns out the areas of the brain that are "engaged" with processing a phone conversation are the same ones used to process visual information.

So, in a sense, while engaged in a cell phone conversation our brain is trying to "visualize" it. And since the brain can not multitask then information about our surroundings coming in from our eyes is not getting processed.

So when a driver, after running down a cyclist in broad daylight, claims he/she didn't "see him". In a way they are right.

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