How hard is it to go hands-free on your cell phone?

Let me start by saying that I am not a technophobe. I can, and do, use email, chat, text messages, the internet, and now even a blog. I am not a technology expert, and I don’t let it run my life, but I am not afraid of technology, and I don’t hate it. I just want to clear that up before anybody claims that what I am about to say is simply because I can’t use these technologies. So, here it is…

How hard it is to go hands-free when you are talking on your cell phone? What’s so tough about popping in an ear bud or a Bluetooth headpiece? Is that call really so important that you have to take it right now, in your hand, and risk your life and the lives of those in vehicles and on sidewalks around you?

Last week, while driving in traffic on snowy, slippery roads at dusk, my husband nearly had an accident with a young girl making a left hand turn while driving with one hand on the steering wheel and a cell phone in the other. Because she was paying more attention to the call than to her driving, she made the turn well after her light turned red and my husband was proceeding into the intersection in front of her. Thankfully for both of them, he was alert and managed to slam on the brakes just in time to avoid her. Otherwise, who knows where they both would have ended up?

When she took that call, could she not just as easily have been wearing an ear bud as not? When she got into the car, it would have taken only a few extra seconds to prepare herself for a call by having the ear bud already in so all she had to do was press the button to accept the call. If she had taken that time, the potential accident would never have happened and nobody would have been in any danger.

After all, how hard is it?

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6 Responses to How hard is it to go hands-free on your cell phone?

  1. Texting while driving laws alone are not the answer. You must provide an alternative or the problem will grow exponentially.
    Hands Free Texting Technology Resource

    • I agree that alternatives are important. I also think education is important. I wish there were more in-school programs for kids to teach the dangers of texting or calling while driving; if we teach them about this issue early enough, before they start to drive, we have a better chance of getting through to them. It would also be useful to have this concept embedded into driver education programs. I think we also need “no texting/calling while driving” ad campaigns aimed at adults who already drive (in much the same way we have “no drinking and driving” campaigns). Society has a long way to go to improving in this area, but I think it’s important to start.

  2. Wendy says:

    I feel that people now also expect that instant contact through the cell phone. Are you not answering the phone because you are avoiding me as your boss, colleague, spouse or mother! After all, what other reason could there be? Driving, so what?

    • You are so right about the way people expect instant responses to their cell phone call. That device is good in many ways, but it’s eroding personal time and privacy to an alarming degree. I never cease to be amazed, and disgusted, to hear people having long, loud, in-depth conversations on their cell phones, sharing in public details that should be kept for a much more private venue. I can never figure out if they are oblivious to what they are sharing to countless strangers, or if they are simply unconcerned. Either way, I wish they’d cease and desist; I don’t want to know about your reasons for breaking up or how much you hate your boss. I just want to enjoy my meal, or my coffee, or my real, live conversation with my friend.

  3. Kevin Schoepp says:

    This is one case where Canada has been behind the eight ball with its legislation. I see Alberta will have the DISTRACTED DRIVING law in place by the middle of 2011. I know the UAE has had a hands free law in place for a number of years already- enforcement is of course another story. Any way, driving and using the phone is clearly not safe and should be curbed. I read an article recently in which young people now felt that texting while driving is a bigger threat than drunk driving.

    • I have heard of actual studies (scientific and semi-scientific, like one done by Car and Driver magazine) that show that texting and driving is in fact a bigger threat than drunk driving. Unfortunately, society accepts texting and driving, and cell calls and driving, as legitimate, at least at the moment. The other unfortunate thing is that you can’t legislate common sense, which makes enforcement difficult, even if the police were to really put in the effort to do it. I think it will take time for society to come around to the idea that using the cell phone while driving for any purpose is a risky thing, much like it has taken decades for drinking and driving to become less accepted socially (though it still happens too often as well).

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