Proposed A2 cell phone ban

Submitted by LongLiveBo on February 18th, 2010 at 12:52 PM

I am not sure how I feel about this type of thing. On the surface it seems to make some sense but where does it stop?

Sally Vermaaten doesn’t drive but thinks the Ann Arbor City Council is heading in the right direction with its plan to ban motorists from texting or using handheld cell phones while behind the wheel.…



February 18th, 2010 at 12:59 PM ^

The real problem is that people can't drive. The cellphone is only one distraction. Love driving by the woman putting on her mascara while driving, or the guy eating a burger with two hands. They need to teach how to drive first.


February 18th, 2010 at 12:59 PM ^

When I see someone swerve into my lane or generally do something stupid behind the wheel, 9 out of 10 times they have a cell phone in their hands. I'd hate to lose a family member in a car accident just because someone was distracted by their phone while driving. We have the law here in California but enforcement is clearly the issue.


February 18th, 2010 at 4:38 PM ^

The question I have is whether they are texting or just talking. I agree 100% that texting should be outlawed while driving. Just talking on a cell phone, OTOH, is in my opinion no more dangerous than talking to a passenger, reading a map, or fiddling with the radio/CD player, all of which people do every day everywhere.

And you all should watch my wife put on a full face of makeup while driving. It's scary and amazing simultaneously.


February 19th, 2010 at 8:14 AM ^

Research has found that talking on a cell is more of a distractant than talking to passengers in the car. It has to do with the fact you have to concentrate more when talking to someone you can't see, so you have no visual cues.

As for reading a map or fiddling with the radio, I'm not sure how it compares in terms of danger, but the advent of GPS systems is hopefully reducing the need for the former and in the latter case, most people only spend brief moments adjusting the radio, whereas in a phone conversation, you're continually distracted for the length of the call.


February 18th, 2010 at 1:08 PM ^

If people need a law to tell them to stop driving while looking down at their lap texting, then so be it. I think the definition of reckless driving can be amended just as easily as passing a new, ultra-specific law like this.

I was driving down the highway the other day and noticed an erratic driver. While passing him, I saw that he had drumsticks in his hands and was playing his steering wheel like a drum and swerving all over the highway. Does there need to be a law against this too? Was my looking over at him reckless as well? I wasn't paying attention to my driving for the split-second I was watching him drum, but I also wasn't all over the road.

Now, he totally could have been pulled over even though the law doesn't specifically prohibit drumming on your steering wheel, why should erratic driving while texting/talking on the phone be any different?


February 18th, 2010 at 3:17 PM ^

I completely agree. Even though certain cellphone functions may be a leading distraction, causing dangerous driving, there also surely a number of other causes, such as applying mascara or playing musical instruments - as mentioned, that could all be properly classified as "erratic driving" and prohibited altogether.

Can anyone make an argument for outlawing the use of cellphones in cars while ignoring other distracting behaviors?


February 18th, 2010 at 3:55 PM ^

Ban one thing, cell phone use, and you eliminate a huge percentage of distracted driving that occurs. Banning drumming while driving is rational but its impossible to create an exhaustive list of what you shouldn't be allowed to do while driving.


February 18th, 2010 at 1:11 PM ^

Does the law still allow hands free cell phone use? If not, I think this is the worst law ever.

As the late John Locke said, "Don't tell me what I can't do! DON'T TELL ME WHAT I CAN'T DO!"


February 18th, 2010 at 10:57 PM ^

In Washington, where I live, we already have a no-cell-phones-while-driving law. Some of the studies that were done in support of the law produced evidence showing that the danger is more related to the mental distraction of trying to carry on a cell phone conversation while driving than the physical distraction of handling the phone itself. There is a term for it, "inattention blindness."


February 19th, 2010 at 7:57 AM ^

It's true, this has been a point of discussion here in Toronto as well, where using a phone behind the wheel has been outlawed. As stated, enforcement is the problem. I'm a bike messenger, and I get nearly killed at least once a day by a driver yapping away on their phone, headset or no. But I get pulled over if I don't have a bell on my bike, which I never use.* Makes sense, no?

Zone Left

February 18th, 2010 at 1:10 PM ^

Interestingly, it's still not illegal to text while driving in many places that require hands free devices while driving. Texting and driving is insane (I still do it occassionally, but it's insane).


February 18th, 2010 at 1:15 PM ^

as bluetooth gets more integrated into vehicles this will become less of an issue. As a GM employee, I hate to say it but BMW is really ahead of the game in this area. With the iDrive system once your phone is paired with the vehicle it downloads your entire phonebook and has the voice recognition software to understand any name in your phonebook you say to call that person. The next big step is to take voice to text and create txt messages without any involvement from the driver but talking.


February 18th, 2010 at 1:51 PM ^

How does a GM Bluetooth system work differently than a BMW's?

Not trying to be obtuse, just can't imagine a BT system that doesn't synch with your phone book and allow voice recognition (a common feature from the early '00s).


February 18th, 2010 at 2:30 PM ^

Just got a new VW CC last month and it does the same thing. the car downloads my phone book, last calls, everything. I make calls without taking a hand off the steering wheel, flip through the in car menu. Can also do it verbally. Makes things a lot safer.

That said I agree that the big problem is that people don't know how to drive in general. The crap people do in their cars is scary.


February 18th, 2010 at 1:53 PM ^

FWIW, I took a course at the SPH last semester, and the professor said that some research has shown texting and driving is more dangerous than drinking and driving.


February 18th, 2010 at 2:58 PM ^

can now be fired is caught texting while driving a G-vehicle. The ban makes sense but it will be difficult to enforce. I hope the LEO's don't abuse this new law just to pull you over. Oh, I pulled you over because it look like you were texting, now let me search your vehicle!


February 18th, 2010 at 4:02 PM ^

Random Story:

So I'm in Ohio (boo) and exiting at a Turnpike Plaza for some gas. I'm coming down the off ramp and braking down from around 80 or so when I spot this silver sedan coming right the f--- at me. I get on the brakes and the horn and swerve off onto a shoulder and manage to avoid hitting a college age girl who is merrily heading the wrong way up the ramp while texting away. She had the gall to give me a dirty look as she cruised by me. I could clearly see her holding a cell in her right hand, typing away on it. About 100 yards up the ramp she ended up getting into a head to head wreck with SUV that was also exiting. From the cops and everything found out the girl was a junior at Toledo and texting her boyfriend. Not sure how she ended up turning out, she left in an ambulance. The SUV driver and his kids were okay.

So yeah, ban that shit. You want to talk and drive? Get a headset.

Eck Sentrik

February 18th, 2010 at 4:45 PM ^

I am a bit biased on the subject because a few months ago, my son was struck and dragged 30-40' down the road by a teen texting while driving. My son was crossing an intersection at the proper place when the driver did a rolling stop, turned left and was actually on the wrong side of the road when he hit him.

I do not, however, believe we should pile on more laws. Just classify texting or even cell phone use as reckless driving.

He's alright by the way. A mild concussion, some bruising and a sprained ankle.


February 18th, 2010 at 7:46 PM ^

but I would like to see it mandatory that all new cars must have a bluetooth device built in. Almost every new cell phone is bluetooth enabled and then you would not have to wear those ridiculous ear pieces.


February 18th, 2010 at 9:30 PM ^

I have to admit...

I have talked or texted on cell phones when driving, and I have never come close to being in an accident while doing it.

Not that it's a good idea or anything, but I can text without ever looking at my phone.