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Mon, Oct 24, 2016 21:28
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A call to put the phone down

Driving with a cell phone is so confusing these days. Just in our area, there are three different sets of laws regarding this issue. In Montgomery City, no cell phone use at all is allowed ($175 fine). In Prattville City, texting while driving is not allowed. And in the counties, both are OK. I’ve seen so much abuse of cell phones by drivers that I’m against their use except through hands-free Bluetooth devices.

This morning driving to school, I was behind a pickup. The driver was talking on a cell phone. To his credit, he was hugging the white line on the right side of the road. But just in the course of a mile, his right two tires came completely off the road twice.  Because of the recent rains, mud and water flew. If the drop off had been more severe, he’d have had trouble maintaining control. As it was, he looked like a drunk driver. I thought before long he’d take out a mail box.

The lawyers are getting on board, too. TV ads abound about getting payments from accidents caused by “distracted drivers.” There must be money to had here if they pay for TV time. Some ads tout recoveries in six and seven figures.

I’m convinced. There is a huge risk in distracting oneself behind the wheel with a cell phone. It’s getting into the category of drunk driving and from what I’ve read, there’s not much difference, at least as far as driver vehicle control. My car doesn’t have a Bluetooth device, so I avoid talking or texting while driving. My wife’s car has this cool Bluetooth device with steering wheel controls. I want one, too, but they are $160 plus installation. Oh well.

I’ll close with a warning about kids. Most of our students have a cell phone surgically attached to their hand. If you think kids don’t drive and use their cell phones, you are naive. I don’t have a good solution here except to set boundaries similar to drinking and driving for teens. And set the example. If they see you texting and driving, they will think it’s OK, too.

Oh, in Russia traffic is so bad that people drive with their cell phones recording video on the dash. If they have an accident, they also have a video record of who is at fault.

Now let’s see, which city are we in?

Gene Canavan is a retired West Point Graduate and Paper Mill Utilities Manager and lives in Prattville, Alabama, USA.

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