Posted by Pro-Joe, a resident of the Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park neighborhood, on Jun 25, 2008 at 1:04 pm
It might be my imagination, but in the last couple of weeks it's seemed that even more people than usual are squawking on their hand-held cells while trying to drive, and I wonder if they're using every opportunity now to indulge in this soon-to-be illegal form of exhibitionism. Or are they really unaware of the new law and the need to get themselves hooked up to a hands-free IV oh sorry I mean phone?
Whatever the case, I hope that local cops and the CHP are serious about nailing these mindless roadway menaces. And I hope Simitian revises the bill to include text messaging soon.
Posted by Concerned, a resident of the Menlo Park: Stanford Hills neighborhood, on Jun 26, 2008 at 1:30 pm
I'm concerned that cops won't consider it worth the time to stop handheld cellphone users when there are so many other drivers out there speeding and running red lights. The law will be only as good as the enforcement, so I do hope it's a priority in the eyes of CHP and other cops.
Posted by very happy, a resident of the Menlo Park: Sharon Heights neighborhood, on Jun 27, 2008 at 7:18 pm
i think this is a good first step. however, i believe that people should not only not be able to talk on cell phone, they should always use two hands on their steering wheel when not shifting, as required in some european countries.
Another step is to make it illegal to TALK while driving, making hands free sets useless, and also illegal to TALK to passengers. talking to passengers is distracting enough. the real dangerous people on the roads are people who do anything else other than driving. this way, us speeders won't be blamed for crashes and hopefully they can get rid of speed limits
Posted by Observer, a resident of the Menlo Park: Stanford Hills neighborhood, on Jun 27, 2008 at 9:34 pm
Hey, I think I spotted Very Happy on the freeway today! I had to pass him on the right as he was yakking on his cell phone, driving at about 55 mph. That was near the Canada Road exit.
Then, near the Woodside Road exit, he sped past me, still with phone glued to ear, at about 75 mph. Sure must've been an entertaining conversation, because he was laughing hysterically. He must be Very Happy to be having such an entertaining conversation on this very very congested freeway, I thought to myself.
As I approached Sand Hill Road, I noticed he had moved over one lane -- to the fast lane -- but had slowed down to about 60 mph. And guess what? He was still yakking on the phone. So I passed him again, wondering why he was ignoring the line of fast-lane drivers close -- very very very close -- behind him, making abrupt lane changes to pass him on the right. In my rear-view mirror, I detected some hand gestures directed at Very Happy by the people passing him on his right, but somehow, I don't think they were waving a friendly "hello."
Shortly before Alpine Road, I moved to the far right lane, preparing to exit, but maybe 75 yards before the exit I had to brake abruptly when I saw a vehicle suddenly veer across all lanes to make it into the far right lane in time to take the Alpine offramp. The vehicle darted in front of me, and I realized -- SURPRISE! -- it was Very Happy, VERY HAPPY, I'M SURE, that there wasn't a CHP around to see his very very very stupid and dangerous manuever that caused at least half a dozen drivers to slam on their brakes and increased the rage level on that freeway by 600 percent in the span of 2 or 3 miles. Sheer bliss.
Posted by oscar, a resident of the Menlo Park: Downtown neighborhood, on Jun 28, 2008 at 9:19 pm
Phones are the worst contributors to distracted driving, but there are others. Today's cars are so comfy and have so many electronic gadgets that people think they are in their living rooms instead of in public space operating dangerous machinery. Instead of seeing other people in cars they just see metal boxes with tinted windows. I think we should require everyone to drive a convertible with the top down at all times. This would put people back in touch with their surroundings and allow them to see other drivers and be seen, bringing a human face back to the metal boxes.
Posted by SpaceJam, a resident of the Menlo Park: Downtown neighborhood, on Jun 30, 2008 at 1:41 am
Oscar - I like your suggestion that everyone drive convertibles because it puts the driver back in touch with their surroundings. However, I would take your idea one step further and require that all drivers ride motorcycles. I guarantee that will put them in touch with their surrounding and at the same time force them to stay focused. And no more cell phones.
Posted by KrazyKat, a resident of the Portola Valley: Portola Valley Ranch neighborhood, on Jun 30, 2008 at 1:53 am
I'm not poster "Very Happy", but I do use a cell phone, do use it in my car, and have been known to drive 100 mph on Hwy 280 (only after 11:00 pm. For obvious reasons I choose to remain anonymous...just sign me, KrazyKat For Life.
Posted by Badlands, a resident of the Portola Valley: Ladera neighborhood, on Jun 30, 2008 at 2:14 am
Welcome to Russia, people. First they'll take away your cell phone, then it'll be your radio/CD player. Eventually they will try to take away those back-seat mounted DVD players that keep kids that can't sit still for more than 15 minutes occupied. Think about it!
Posted by hip mama, a resident of the Menlo Park: Belle Haven neighborhood, on Jun 30, 2008 at 10:41 am
Someone was having some fun around 2 am today!
Comparing the cell phone law to the institution of a police state is unfounded hyperbole. The problem is that cell phone users present a danger to other drivers. Obviously, kids watching dvds in the back of the car do not, so no one has a problem with those.
If you haven't ever seen a driver talking on the cell phone while driving, oblivious to the world around her/him, then you either haven't spent much time outside your home--or you are one of the offenders.
I don't talk on the phone while driving so am totally unperturbed by this new law. I do put on makeup, but only at stoplights, and fortunately I am not so breathtakingly beautiful that my appearance causes accidents.
Posted by very happy, a resident of the Menlo Park: Sharon Heights neighborhood, on Jun 30, 2008 at 3:11 pm
i get very annoyed when i see people talk on cell phones. inattentive drivers are the only reason there are accidents. if they get rid of speed limits and everyone's driving 100 on local roads, there will no longer be inattentive drivers and passengers won't try to talk to drivers, etc.
Posted by silent driver, a resident of the Atherton: West of Alameda neighborhood, on Jun 30, 2008 at 3:17 pm
We have all seen and experieced oblivious drivers slowing or stopped in traffic while selfishly talking to everyone - about nothing. I have heard these conversations. Most are senseless - and equally sensless if they cause a collision. Unlimited talk time is not intended as a literal challenge!
I too have seen drivers laughing into their phones as they swerve into other traffic. I have nearly been sideswiped or rear-ended and had to swerve away several times. I have also been in cars with friends holding and talking on cell phones. Their driving was horrible and really scary.
I saw my own driving affected. I no longer answer the phone when I drive and let it go to voice mail. I could not talk safely much less steer and rumage in my bag for a ringing phone. It seems life was easier before I had a phone and a GPS thing in my car.
I applaud the law and its intent. Our safety.
We don't live in police state. Look around. There are so few police out there now. They are busy and cannot make a dent in this long established behavior of discoureteous drivers. (And no they are not all at Starbucks. In all fairness - they work really hard. They are not robots. Why slam them? We need them.)
Giving tickets is not the way stop this. Pulling people over to give them a $20 ticket will only be a minor inconvenience.
These people put the rest of us at risk. Isn't that important to insurance carriers? Which of their insured are higher risk?
Behavior modification through increased insurance cost or cancelation WILL modify this behavior. Make it a $20 fine, but reported to insurance for premium purposes.
I also like the idea I heard about a car's computer sensing a cell phone operating in the car and a automatically stopping the car within 5 minutes - enough time to pull over. That's next.
Posted by amazed, a resident of the Portola Valley: Westridge neighborhood, on Jul 1, 2008 at 10:51 am
Saw a woman who was smoking a cigarette in one hand and talking on her cell phone with the other. ALL while driving!! Who was steering the car? What a reckless person. This law will be good. It will be even better when texting is added. Texting is even more dangerous than talking. Why can people just shut up and drive the car?
Posted by Also amazed, a resident of the Menlo Park: Felton Gables neighborhood, on Jul 1, 2008 at 10:13 pm
I must say I was expecting to see people flouting the new law on this first day of its implementation. But amazingly, I didn't see a single driver talking on a hand-held phone, and I was out and about a lot today. Like "amazed," I've seen the most stupid driving behavior involving people on the phone, often and in really dangerous situations. Hope this law helps, but I realize it won't completely solve the problem. Stupidity and exhibitionism is just too culturally ingrained.
Posted by Donald, a resident of another community, on Jul 8, 2008 at 9:09 pm
It is illegal to do any of the things that sarah mentioned if a police officer thinks that you do not have control of your car as a result. The law does not list every example of stupidity in detail, but you can be cited under a general clause.