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The New Cell Phone Law: Stick It In Your (r)ear!

by Ed Attanasio (writer), San Frickin' Frisco, Baby!, June 30, 2008

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I have chosen not to obey the new cell phone law, risking tickets, fines, public admonishment and ridicule. But, I don't care!

When the new cell phone law goes into effect tomorrow in California, I will be one of the very first people not to obey it. I think it’s a ridiculous law and just another example of too much government in our lives.  One by one, all of our freedoms are being taken away and this is a prime example.

Pretty soon, there will be all kinds of frivolous new laws just like this one.  Some day, it will be a crime if you have more than 15 items in the express lane at the grocery store; if you drop an upper decker as a joke at a house party; if you break wind on a crowded bus; if you leave snarky comments online (you’re busted, El G).  

This needless and invasive piece of legislation is just another way for Big Brother to get his (or her) hand deeper into our pockets.

They say the law will prevent a lot of auto accidents, but I don’t buy it. People get into accidents for a wide range of different reasons (tailgating, speeding, being drunk, running lights, screaming at their kids, etc.) and cell phone usage is right at the bottom of those reasons, I believe. Anyone who isn’t coordinated enough to use a cell phone and drive at the same time shouldn’t be driving anyway. I can chew gum and walk simultaneously, thank you very much.

One of the things I have always done to avoid using my phone excessively while driving is to prioritize my phone usage while in the car. I look at the phone number when my cell phone rings, and if it isn’t an important call that I need to take immediately, I let it go to message and I call the person back when I am off the road. The main problem with people talking on cell phones in their cars is over usage. The majority of calls consist of drivers chatting about anything and everything—it’s not like these folks are handling business, coming up with brilliant ideas or dealing with emergency calls. I doubt that they’re discussing important topics like colonics, world peace or 12-21-12. I would predict that 80% of all cell phone conversations in the car are either meaningless or unnecessary. The cell phone law is designed for those individuals-not me.

I know that by deciding not to adhere to this new law, I am risking a ticket. Big deal--$20! Who cares? If the state was seriously considering enforcing this law, the fine would be a lot more. At first, they will be pulling people over left and right. Then after a while, they will find better things to do. Enforcement will be spotty and inconsistent, just like the seat belt law or the headphones law.

So, join me in rejecting this silly law. We pay a lot for these cell phones and we should be able to use them whenever and wherever we want. Part of being a U.S. Citizen (as well as a Californian and a San Franciscan) includes the right to pick and choose the laws we wish to obey. If you don’t believe me, drive around SF for an hour or two and observe the chaos. As Ted Nugent once said, “It’s a Free for All!”  



About the Writer

Ed Attanasio is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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15 comments on The New Cell Phone Law: Stick It In Your (r)ear!

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By D. E. Carson on June 30, 2008 at 11:42 pm

I have already put the local sheriff's office on notice that beginning tomorrow I plan to take up residence in various places around the city and photograph sheriff's deputies who drive and talk on the phone at the same time.  They tried to inform me that I could not do that and I said, "Why not? You set up residence in various places and look for people who are driving drunk.  I'm just trying to make sure that the neanderthals enforcing our laws live by those laws."  They asked me what my name was and I said, "Barack Obama" and hung up.  I called from a payphone.

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By Sharlene Hardin on July 01, 2008 at 12:46 am

I've been hands free for quite sometime now but not for safety purposes as much as my hand was losing feeling from holding the phone to my ear (oh and my cellphone is my main phone and I haven't been hardwired telephonically for 3 over 3 years now). 

But I could see where it could be worth risking limb numbness just to make a point :) 

Thought provoking piece Ed. 

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By Sharlene Hardin on July 01, 2008 at 09:40 am

Just as an FYI

A: The base fine for the FIRST offense is $20 and $50 for subsequent convictions. With the addition of penalty assessments, the fines can be more than triple the base fine amount.

I got this off the DMV website regarding the fines around the new cellphone law.

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By 'Mean' Mike Duffau on July 02, 2008 at 02:48 am

they want us to live in fear...i say F*CK IT!!!

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By Lakwyia on July 03, 2008 at 12:09 am

I believe it shouldn't be a law against cell phones either. I mean look at it this way, law or no law, people are going to do whatever they want to do anyway. As for me, i can eat, drive and talk at the same time. If you cannot do this, please don't try it. The solution to this problem about talking on the phone while driving  is that always pay attention to the road and  never to the person on the phone. People intend to mess up when they pay attention to what is being said on the other end of the phone instead of who is driving on the road.

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By yoko ducked on July 03, 2008 at 08:22 am

Ed. Love the "upper decker" reference. Please remember that an "upper decker" is even more effective when combined with a "dry dock", but to pull it off requires a big appetite and a whole lot of physical control.

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By D. E. Carson on July 04, 2008 at 01:00 pm

That's it!  I'm officially announcing my intention to begin the process of actually considering the possibilty of forming an exploratory committee to examine the feasability of weighing the positives and negatives of the idea of giving serious consideration to whether or not I should actually begin possibly thinking about the idea of making a run toward evaluating the notion that I should announce my intention to announce my intention to announce my intention to think about maybe running for governor.  I just have to find a state where the legislature isn't stuck on stupid.  Seriously, Arnie didn't have any political experience and he's done about as good a job as anybody else could have considering the morons at the other end of the hall up there.

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By Ladymaggic on July 05, 2008 at 11:24 pm

Somewhere recently I read the Figures of accidents caused by people who were using their cell phones at the time as they were in charge of a car. There were also figures with the ages of the drivers using the cell phones at the time of the accident

I don't have time to go find this for you...but accidents are caused by young people driving using their cell phones at the time of the accident.

I have been in many taxis where the driver uses a cell phone and has a few near-misses that I notice from my position as passenger.

I do hope you don't accidentally kill someone and then apologise because you 'are such a good driver and how could this happen....'

There is a reason for every new law.....

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By V on July 07, 2008 at 06:25 pm

I don't use my phone in the car at all really. But then, I hate using it in general. Anything can wait until I get where I'm going. I mean really.

You've never been allowed to use  a cell phone at all without some sort of hands-free set up in your car in Australia. I don't have a problem with that at all either. I do have a problem with being safteyfied to within an inch of our live but I do not think that this is one of those circumstances that should be left to common sense. I'm all for no blah, blahing, no texting (especially no texting) while you drive along in your car. You simply cannot text and be alert enough to the task at hand of driving at the same time. Is it true what El G said about texting not counting? Weird.

Funny article though!

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By Sharlene Hardin on July 07, 2008 at 09:37 pm

Doesn't holding the phone between your head and shoulder count as being hands free? BUT for some reason now my head keeps tilting to the right :D

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By Sharlene Hardin on July 08, 2008 at 11:15 am

I understand and agree with you Ed :) 

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By D. E. Carson on July 10, 2008 at 04:16 pm

Hey Ed: I saw "Ladytragic's" comment was grayed out, which means she had a negative rating.  I should have taken that as a clue but I read it anyway.  I had to laugh when she was rambling about NYC taxi drivers having near misses while on the phone.

Which led me to wonder, what was their excuse BEFORE there were cell phones???

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By D. E. Carson on July 12, 2008 at 01:11 am

If the one was stopped in "WeHo" then the only reason I can figure just a warning was because the phone must have been coordinated with either your friend's clothes or the car...

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By Sharlene Hardin on July 12, 2008 at 11:55 am

OK so ED, I did the speaker phone thing with it lower than the windows and I was still getting some seriously dirty looks from the people that were sitting next to me.  My friend was in a motorcycle accident and I was stuck in traffic so I was talking to my friends wife to find out if I needed to drop everything and get to the hospital.  But the way these people were looking at me while I was on the phone you'd think I was committing some sort of horrible crime.  Two people even honked at me made cellphone hang up gestures and gave me dirty looks.  (OH and did I mention I was stuck in traffic on lincoln blvd that wasn't moving - COME ONE people give me a friggin break). 

Seriously, if I weren't on the phone with my best friend whose mother is dying at the same time her husband was in a serious motorcycle accident, I would have pulled my car over and actually committed a crime worth all the dirty looks.  Sorry, for the rant but all this self righteous judgement of others to me is a complete outrage. 

It's just frustrating knowing that there are far more serious crimes and violations being committed in this state than talking on a cellphone.  *UGH*  (ok, I'm getting off my soapbox now)

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By superhottie on July 13, 2008 at 06:16 pm

I applaud your courage. You're writing what most of us are thinking, yet we're too scared to say it out loud.

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