March 25 2001
There's nothing more that I hate than when people talk on their cell phones while driving, especially the unnecessarily long conversations. It really makes me uneasy to the say the least. With all that shouting and arms flailing all over the place in descriptive fashion, I find it hard to imagine how one can really concentrate on driving. It might seem chicken but quite frankly I'm scared of people that phone and drive. I consider this to be one of the worst dangers to driving, only "bested" by drunk driving, over-speeding and the like.
I mean can't all those long cell phone conversations wait? Of course some phone calls are very important but some people take it too far. I always watch in amazement as people try to control the wheels while the celly is glued to their ear with one hand holding it for support. As if that's not enough the celly keeps changing hands (for relief) like a kid trying to juggle a piping hot "akara" ball he or she just stole from the frying pan. After this practice proves futile or increasingly stressful some even sandwich the celly between their ears and shoulders and continue to drive without missing a beat. Why is it that cell phone users never seem to know the last place they left thier cellies? As soon as it starts ringing they go berserk ransacking all thier pockets till they eventually find it in some obviuos location. These distractions definitely impede one's concentration while driving, to what extent is open to argument.
This problem is minimized while driving automatic automobiles but I've seen people struggling to switch gears of their standard/manual vehicles while chatting away on the phone. I have watched documentary programs such as 20/20, W-Five and Dateline NBC talking about the increased chance of personal and public endangerment while "phoning and driving" but always thought it was blown out of proportion. However, it's evident nowadays how this can present problems because everybody now has a cell phone and naturally these gadgets are supposed to be put into "proper" use.
As of late there have been increased reports about accidents caused by cell phone users. Various organizations are setting up programs to educate the public on the dangers of this practice. Police in some states are even contemplating banning cell phone use by drivers. In the near future people might actually get a ticket while "phoning and driving". Police officers now arrive on accident scenes and proceed to search for cell phones as a potential factor.
As typical with other dangers people usually don't pay close attention to the risk factor until it hits close to home in one way or another. One of the safest ways to go is to get totally hooked up with all the accessories that will reduce risk especially the headsets. People should also try to keep their phone conversations to a minimum. No mater how careful of a driver you are (even while on the phone), there are many reckless drivers on the road and one needs to be alert. Accidents do happen and sometimes it comes looking for us. Stay safe.