California Outlaws Holding Cell Phones while Driving

The law goes into effect in 2008 forcing anyone wishing to use a cellular phone while driving in California to purchase a hands-free device, such as a headset, or face a fine. Headset manufacturers and resellers rejoice statewide. It is interesting to note that a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that although using a cell phone while driving is hazardous, “units that allowed the hands to be free offered no safety advantage over hand-held units.”

When radios were first installed in cars there was serious concern that they would be too distracting to the driver. They would make accidents much more common and put everyone in jeopardy.

I don’t think that people are better drivers with a brick plastered to the side of their head, but I do have a problem when scientific evidence shows something and laws are passed based on unscientific ideas to the contrary. Either let everyone use cell phones when they drive or ban their use outright. Maybe it is a question of enforcement. I can imagine that it would be trivial to disguise the use of a hands-free device. “I was practicing a speech I have to give, officer!” Or perhaps, “I was just singing along to my favorite song that came on the radio.” Maybe even, “Well, I know there is no one else in the car. I’d like to be on my way now… filthy hobbitses! They took the Preciousss, but we will show them!” Anything to avoid the ticket, right?

So there you have it. A useless law that will only take away more of our freedom. While we’re at it we should make it illegal to drive if you have kids in your car. Now there’s a distraction just screaming “serious collision.”