Once again cell phone use while driving is in the news. This time it’s because of a study that found that you are more likely to be in an accident if you are sending text messages while driving. It’s not just a little more likely, it’s something like 23 times more likely. This isn’t the first study done about the dangers of cell phone use while driving. The popular TV show Mythbusters did an episode that determined that it was more dangerous to talk on the cell phone while driving that it was to drive drunk. There are dozens of studies done on this, and lots of real world examples. There is no question in my mind that it’s flat out stupid. You’re going to get in an accident, it’s just a matter of when and how bad.
Cell phone use in the car is getting a lot of attention now from the media as well as the government. So much so, that laws are being introduced that will make using a cell phone while driving illegal. While I agree that you shouldn’t be using the phone while driving, I don’t see the need for a law specifically to deal with cell phones because that’s saying that reading the newspaper is ok, or that putting on make-up while driving is fine. When the reality is that neither of those are acceptable. Any laws created should address anything that takes the drivers attention away from the task of driving. It doesn’t matter if it’s eating a burger from a fast food restaurant, reading the newspaper, putting on make-up, shaving, browsing through music on your MP3 player, talking / texting on your cell phone, or anything else. If it takes your attention away from the task of driving, it should be illegal.
The only things that come out of creating a law to address cell phone use while driving is short-sightedness and the need to create a new law in a couple years when the next-great-thing is found to cause a distraction to drivers. Get it right the first time and deal with all the distractions and not just cell phones.