"Studies show" is the media's favorite phrase... especially when what the studies show is"technology bad." Online Predators! Brain Tumors! Identity Theft! Hearing Loss! Internet Addiction! Exploding Batteries!
So when "studies showed" that "cell phone use while driving is as dangerous as driving drunk" obviously that was red meat for the info industry.
And like all memes it got squished and squeezed as it moved through the media digestive tract, until it lost all meaning. What kind of use is dangerous? Texting? Talking? GPS? Yelp? With hands? Without hands?
Doesn't seem to matter anymore. "Cell phones in car bad."
I obviously agree that any cell phone use that involves your hands or eyes -- texting, apps, in-hand use -- is dangerous and distracting,
and I support all laws prohibiting such use. (Frankly, I've used a headset for all calls in my home for decades, for comfort reasons, so I'd never think of holding a phone in my hand in the car.)
But now I keep hearing that hands-free use is the next legislative target? That Bluetooth use is as dangerous as drunk driving??
But think about it. I have a Bluetooth speakerphone in my car. So I do not fiddle with any device on my person, nor do I try to keep anything precariously plugged in my ear. I simply speak. Is that dangerous?
Well then obviously any kind of speaking in the car is as dangerous or moreso. Someone who drives with a passenger in the seat beside them also has a conversation. The only difference between my Bluetooth conversation and a driver-passenger conversation is that I keep my eyes on the road at all times.
Wanna know something even more dangerous than talking to a passenger? Have you ever seen a parent with a child in the back seat? How about one with two or three kids back there? Are you seriously going to tell me that that parent is paying more attention to the road than I am when I'm hands-free? Poppycock.
What about cupholders? Standard equipment, encouraging you to take one hand off the wheel and enjoy a sometimes-scalding-hot beverage while driving. When I'm hands-free, my hands are, by definition, free to be on the wheel.
In 'N' Out asks after every order if you're going to eat your food in the car. Most drive-thrus offer wraps so you can eat them one-handed while driving. Add in that big soda in the cupholder, and you're now using one hand to hold the wrap and the wheel while you sip with the other. Perfectly legal, no stigma attached. Muy dangerous.
Add to that doing make-up, changing CD's, reading newspapers, and all the other dangerous things people do while driving, and I think you've got a long list of legislation to pass. I mean, if you're going to ban hands-free conversation while driving, it's only fair to ban all those other, more distracting, more dangerous activities first.
And if hands-free talking is ever banned, I personally will civilly disobey until all of the above are banned as well. I also insist on a law prohibiting receiving a hand job while driving. Not because I'm anti-hand-job (far from it) but because I would pay good money to watch that debate.