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Friday Opinion: Time to get tough on distracted driving

Posted by on August 20th, 2010 at 10:00 am

The (illegal) use of mobile phones while operating a vehicle is way too common in Portland and more needs to be done to raise awareness of this and other behaviors that lead to distracted driving.

I’m sure there was a brief period after January 1, 2010 — when our state’s cell phone law went into effect — when people focused on driving and not talking. But my first-hand observations tell me that texting and talking on cell phones while driving and riding is out of control. Not a day goes by when I don’t see people doing this extremely dangerous activity.

Sunday Parkways Southeast-21

A man uses his cell phone while
biking during Sunday Parkways.
(Photo © J. Maus)

As validation for my observations, consider the Portland Police Bureau stats presented by the Portland Tribune back in June:

Portland Police Bureau data show that after a week and a half of warnings at the start of January, officers handed out 410 citations from Jan. 11 to Feb. 10. People seemed to have gotten the message. The next month, from Feb. 11 to March 10, only 190 citations were issued. But the next month, there were 259. And, from April 11 to May 10, police issued 324.

I also got an email from Peter R. a few days ago that really got under my skin. He and his family nearly got run down while pedaling on a local bike boulevard (emphasis mine)…

“This past Sunday, my family and I were cycling on NE Tillamook when we encountered a dangerous and rude driver at the intersection of NE 12th and Tillamook. The driver in question was engaged in conversation on her cell phone, failed to observe the STOP sign controlling her direction of travel and began to roll into the intersection as our family was at midpoint and directly in her path.

Fortunately she slammed on her brakes as we took evasive maneuvers and all avoided physical injury. My wife and I pointed to her STOP sign and gestured to her that she hang up the phone but rather than acknowledging her offense and offer apology, she instead became verbally abusive, gunned her engine, and sped off all the while remaining connected on her call…”

And of course there was the crash I reported on earlier this week where a man on a bike was run over by a woman operating a car while talking on her cell phone and “she was not aware that she hit him.”

Instead of waiting for a fatal crash and the tragic headlines that usually pressure us into action, we need to be more proactive on the issue of distracted driving.

Now would be a great time for our Mayor and Commissioner of Transportation, Sam Adams — who has said repeatedly that his #1 priority is safety — to use his position to raise awareness for this serious public safety issue. US DOT Secretary Ray LaHood has done a stellar job keeping distracted driving front and center as a national issue. Mayor Adams would be smart to follow suit.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Work with Multnomah County to hang banners with a catchy slogan across all the downtown bridges.
  • Work with the Police Bureau to do some enforcement actions (and invite the media to cover it).
  • Do a City Hall “Ride for Awareness” with Mayor Adams and the other commissioners.
  • The BTA’s Bike Commute Challenge is next month; Mayor Adams could proclaim it officially as Distracted Driving Awareness Month.

As for the law itself, it needs to be strengthened in the 2011 session to clearly outlaw all use of mobile phones while operating a vehicle (eliminate the “handsfree” exception as well as the exception for using one “in the course of one’s employment”). And yes, that goes for people operating bicycles too.

Do you think Portland should do more to raise awareness of this issue? What’s your opinion?

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

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Andrew Plambeck
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Andrew Plambeck

I was just about to blog about this over the weekend. In my 3-to-5-minute walk from home to the bus stop yesterday, I was almost hit TWICE by drivers who were on cell phones and rolling through stop signs (one was a right-turn stoplight) and would have hit me if I hadn’t jumped back.

This is rampant around Portland and something needs to happen. Distracted driving is simply killing too many people in this area.

peejay
Guest
peejay

All due respect, I don’t want a catchy slogan. I want signs that tell people that they’re f*&#ing rude, inconsiderate a$$holes when they drive and phone. Nothing to do with the law; everything to do with being a decent human being.

Ryan
Guest
Ryan

I was almost run down on NE 7th between Weidler and Halsey. I was heading south in the bike lane, and I heard someone yell- “Watch out! Watch out in the bike lane!” I looked back and saw a white Honda Accord coming at me in the bike lane and pretty fast. The driver appeared to be staring at the floor of the passenger seat. As he passed me- close enough that his mirror brushed my thigh- I saw that he was holding his cell phone down low so that he could text without it being visible. After he passed me he proceeded to run the 4-way stop at Halsey, almost taking out a woman and her dog who were in the crosswalk. So far as I coud tell, he never looked up from his phone and never noticed me or the woman and her dog. Absolute blatant disregard for the law and the safety of others. If the cyclist behind me hadn’t warned me by yelling that guy would have run me down.

I wonder if there could be a town-hall style meeting where every cyclist, pedestrian, and (yes) driver who has been hit or almost hit by people texting or talking on their phones could go up and tell their story to the mayor, the police, transportation honchos, etc.

Ely
Guest
Ely

Suggestion: Don’t point out stop signs and make hang-up gestures. Instead, record make/model/license number & call 911 to report dangerous driver.

suburban
Guest

You can stand and observe any portland arterial collector street at about 5:15pm and see for yourself how long it takes to count 100 talking/texting/web-surfing drivers. They know the truth about the enforcement of this law.

kgb
Guest
kgb

Yes.

Roma
Guest
Roma

“As for the law itself, it needs to be strengthened in the 2011 session to clearly outlaw all use of mobile phones while operating a vehicle (eliminate the “handsfree” exception as well as the exception for using one “in the course of one’s employment”).”

Give me a break. Maybe we should also push legislation to have nothing in your car but a seat and a steering wheel. No talking to passengers either; Everyone gets a Cone of Silence.

When I was in high school, a girl I knew ran over a pedestrian while she was tuning her radio, so obviously car stereos should be outlawed.

Truck drivers have been talking on CB radios for decades, but talking while driving is obviously unsafe and should be outlawed.

Another side effect of strengthening the law: people pulling over in the bike lane to use their cell phones.

jered
Guest
jered

Deputize all citizens so we can all issue citations for talking/texting while driving!

Zoomzit
Guest
Zoomzit

Just a few weeks ago I was on SE 41st and Hawthorne with my 3 1/2 year old son on the back of my bike and I almost got hit by an A$$ who was talking on the phone as he pulled out of a parking lot without stopping or looking for cross traffic.

I yelled a “Hey, GET OFF the PHONE!” and he actually turned his car around, got out of his car and demanded that I get off my bike so that we could fight. I was pretty amazed that HE was getting upset when he was breaking numerous laws and putting my and my son’s life in danger. Needless to say, I biked away before the issue escalated.

It’s absurd how many people are still talking on the phone when they drive. It’s hard to see if the law has had any impact on people’s behavior.

BURR
Guest
BURR

so where are the police ‘stings’ to address this truly dangerous behaviour and threat to public safety?

Or are the cops all too busy talking on their cell phones to bother?

Perry
Guest
Perry

“I don’t want a catchy slogan” – agreed, I want a Class 2 Misdemeanor, with the potential for 6 months in jail and revocation of driving privileges. No “hands free” devices, no use of cell phone while the vehicle is in motion, period.

Oh, and I want the police to actually enforce it every time they see it happening. Right now, it’s very much selective enforcement.

Allan
Guest
Allan

If someone had a video camera and recorded these incidents would they be followed up on by the cops? My impression is that the cops wouldn’t do much of anything.

Ultimately I fully agree that talking/txting is awful on neighborhood streets. But on grade-separated highways, I really don’t see it causing much trouble. I wish our laws would make the distinction.

Roma
Guest
Roma

“No ‘hands free’ devices, no use of cell phone while the vehicle is in motion, period.”

How would you ever enforce that? You just pull over anyone who’s moving their lips when they’re driving alone? It’s not possible. Today’s cars connect the phone to the interior speaker system via Bluetooth, so there is no visible hands free device.

A.K.
Guest
A.K.

I feel like the “hands free” law actually created a more dangerous situation where people do stupid stuff to avoid being “caught” using a phone.

Things such as turning the speaker-phone function on and holding the phone near their face, which is actually harder to hear than if the phone was being used normally, or holding it down low to text as Ryan #3 stated.

Using a phone while driving (or biking) is stupid (and is clearly different than tuning a radio, I don’t think a comparison can be made). We all managed to do without it before cellphones were invented. I wonder how important these calls are that drivers are risking others’ lives for… my gut feeling is that they are not important calls at all.

Bob_M
Guest
Bob_M

I read Zoomzit’s post #9 and continue to be perplexed by people’s eagerness to commit violence.

Nothing can be done about the cell phone problem from an enforcement point of view. We don’t have the number of LEOs to cite violators, and we don’t have public funds to get more. The cure is a mandatory GPS ap that shuts down cell phones when they are in motion.

I expect that the only way we can persuade politicians to enact such a law would be to out spend ATT, Verizon, Cingular etc. Our politicans do their bidding, not the public’s

Roma
Guest
Roma

“Using a phone while driving (or biking) is stupid (and is clearly different than tuning a radio, I don’t think a comparison can be made).”

I was making the comparison in the general context of distracted driving. In my opinion, talking to someone via a cell phone headset is no more distracting than having a conversation with a passenger in your car.

Allan
Guest
Allan

@16: this is not true. the person in the car actually helps you notice things on the road. the person on the phone gets annoyed if you stop responding to them in order to deal with things on the road.

The data exists

Eugene Bicyclist
Guest

The Legislature totally caved with the whole being-engaged-in-work exception. Utterly spineless!

Maybe cops just need to make it a priority to nail a few people and the word gets out.

But to those who are suggesting it’s no big deal driving and talking on the phone … you have to be kidding? Have you been paying attention the past 10 years. Or have you been too busy chatting?

@ #7, re: people pulling over in the bike lane to answer or make a call.

I’m starting to encounter this a bit more. Unintended consequnces. (sigh)

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
Guest

Roma,

laws are not just about enforcement. Laws send a signal to citizens about what type of behavior is expected of them.

when a law like this is watered down for political compromise to allow “handsfree” use and use during “employment” it tells people that our elected leaders don’t feel as if the problem is that big of a deal. How can we expected people to take this problem seriously if lawmakers are will to compromise on it?

My point is, a stronger law — even if it cannot be enforced — would help change behavior and that’s the main goal here.

This argument is similar to my opinion on lowering speed limits… whether or not they result in people going slower or whether or not the enforcement resources back up the change — the point is that you’re telling people that you expect them to slow down. Peer pressure works and it behavior change should be our primary goal.

peejay
Guest
peejay

Thank you Allan for making the point I was about to make.

Jason
Guest
Jason

I would have called, but my wife was using the car, so I couldn’t use my cell phone.

I usually walk or bike to work because none of my friends want to talk on the phone that early in the morning.

Sorry I didn’t answer, I wasn’t driving at the time.

I didn’t want to bother you, but I have to drive over to the west side and couldn’t get anyone else to answer.

Roma
Guest
Roma

“The data exists”

But the data isn’t conclusive when it comes to passenger distraction vs. talking on a phone.

For example: “AAA ranks passengers as the third most reported cause of distraction-related accidents at 11 percent, compared to 1.5 percent for cellular telephones.”

Jack
Guest
Jack

Maybe I’m missing something but it seems like there is an obvious solution to the problem of lax enforcement:

Round up loads of unemployed people and give them a job issuing citations for traffic offenses. People often talk about how it’s too expensive to enforce these laws, but if your average citation brings in lets say, $100, and some person with a light and a siren on their car can issue 5 citations per hour, after expenses & wages we’re still looking at over $3000 towards public funds in one day’s work. Give a hundred people this job and suddenly we’re pulling in $1.5 million weekly…that is, until people start realizing that they can’t afford to be a bad driver anymore.

Why do we need highly trained (read: expensive) police officers to do this?

Problem solved?

peejay
Guest
peejay

I witnessed a cell-talker, interacted with her and told her I was going to report her to the police. For my troubles, I got from the driver: a revved engine; a middle finger; a “fuck off, asshole”; and then I got from the phone respondent (police non-emergency): “we can’t issue a citation if an officer didn’t see the offense”; “what do you want me to do about it”; a hang-up.

The police JUST DON’T CARE AT ALL about this issue. Part of the reason is because they are driving distracted almost constantly. Radios, cellphones, fricking computer screens in their cars. The other part of the reason is that they are not being given direction from above that this is a safety priority.

Roma
Guest
Roma

“when a law like this is watered down for political compromise to allow “handsfree” use and use during “employment” it tells people that our elected leaders don’t feel as if the problem is that big of a deal.”

Right – I also agree it’s not that big of a deal. Cell phone use isn’t even close to being the leading cause of distracted driving. I don’t see anything wrong with a hands free exception.

peejay
Guest
peejay

Jonathan:

Peer pressure sometimes works, sometimes not. And sometimes, society comes around to an issue after ignoring it, and applies peer pressure.

My favorite example: littering. It used to be totally fine to litter in public. NOw, you cannot get away with it if anyone’s watching. It’s got to the point where anti-littering laws are not even necessary anymore, except for a small minority who don’t care at all about their world or about the community they live in.

If cell-driving or other distracted driving behavior followed the same societal arc as littering, we’d be very fortunate. How do we get there? well, we need some symbols as strong as that commercial with the Native American running a tear down his cheek. We need it to take hold, and we need it fast.

Allan
Guest
Allan

@23: i totally agree.

Ultimately, all forms of distractions while driving come down to the driver thinking that driving is something they have to do to get places.

The real problem is that our car-dependent society has allowed people to assume that ‘accidents happen’ and that they can do whatever they want while driving.

If normal people who drive 10+ miles every day thought of driving a something serious and getting in accidents actually scared them, we would find that traffic accidents went down to nearly 0. However, the lackadaisical attitude of drivers leads to all sorts of badness. The real question is ‘how safe do we want to be’?

some folks, not wanting to pay that much attention while driving might even start taking transit or biking places so they could play on their iPhones or do work while in transit.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
Guest

Good points Roma and peejay,

Roma, I hear you about focus being on distracted driving and not necessarily just on cell phone use. If I was in charge of a campaign, I would definitely lead with distracted driving as the main message and have use of cell phones as a sub-message.

A.K.
Guest
A.K.

Peejay #24:

I think part of the problem with surly and aggressive people these days (god I sound old and I’m not even 30 yet) is that they feel so entitled to do whatever it is that they are doing, and they cannot take a step back to assess how they are acting or take responsibility like an adult should.

Recently my girlfriend and I were walking in downtown and nearly got ran into by a pair of long boarders on the sidewalk. I told them to take it into the street. The response I got was “who do you think you are, the cops? You’re a f–kin’ pussy bitch!”

I don’t know if I was right, but the response I got for calling someone out for poor behavior was very much full of anger.

When I cycle, I just bite my tongue and don’t say anything to correct others. For one, I run stop signs myself so I can’t really call others out for their transgressions, and two I have no idea if they are going to fly off of the handle and freak out on me, try and assault me, or whatever else. It seems like everyone is SO STRESSED OUT these days, that many people are on the verge of cracking at the slightest thing.

DNF
Guest
DNF

The one that amazes me is bicyclists who talk on their phone. I’ve seen more and more of that in the last two years, and I’m baffled. It strikes me as ridiculously dangerous – not only are they distracted (in a much less protected environment than a car), but it leaves them with only one hand to steer and brake with in an emergency. Plus, the wind noise must be awful for the person on the other end.

(none of this comment should be taken as in anyway downplaying the problem of distracted driving)

Karen
Guest
Karen

I used to eat and drink coffee while driving until I nearly rear ended someone when I spilled coffee on myself and became distracted.
I see people putting on makeup! shaving! brushing their teeth!
What the hell is so important that it can’t be taken care of either before we leave or after we reach our destinations?
What the hell did everyone do before cellphones? OMG!!! We WAITED!!! The horror of it all!

Andrew Plambeck
Guest
Andrew Plambeck

It seems like everyone is SO STRESSED OUT these days, that many people are on the verge of cracking at the slightest thing.

So true. And very scary, especially when as vulnerable as riding a bicycle in an urban environment.

Perry
Guest
Perry

@Roma #13 – Granted you can’t get them all, but in the event of an incident if there is an active call at the time, then there are no arguments about hands free devices. If the phone was connected, you’re guilty. We don’t really need to catch them all, we need to make an example of the ones that do get caught.

And My God, I find myself agreeing with PeeJay twice in one day.

MIndful Cyclist
Guest
MIndful Cyclist

Every other year (sometimes more), the legislature meets and passes several different laws. Cities pass new ordinances all the time. And, I am not talking about laws simply regarding vehicles. LEO’s constantly have new laws they have to enforce.

Now, when said laws are passed, how often do municipalities hire more LEO’s to enforce such laws? I would would put my guess anywhere from rarely to never.

Let’s say I am a member of the PPD. I am out on patrol and I see two cars go by at 1:30 am. One appears to be doing a some swerving. The other car has a driver with a cell phone glue to ear but otherwise seems to be driving well. Whom do I pull over? Do I go with the sure bet of getting the person on the phone or do I go for the potentially drunk driver? I can only pull over one.

Please do not take this the wrong way. I am in no way minimizing the use of a cell phone in a moving car. I think people should pull over to use a phone and this even includes cyclists. What it simply comes down to is how much time is a LEO given to enforce every single law out there.

Nick V
Guest
Nick V

It’s just more of the “me first” mentality that I’m so sick of in our society. Sure there’s a law about using cell phones while driving but it doesn’t apply to me because my calls are important blah blah blah…..

I was similarly yelled at by woman who nearly ran a stop sign and hit me while talking on her cell just because I motioned for her to hang up.

The problem is that people are not taking this law seriously.

THE SOLUTION IS TO GIVE THESE PEOPLE THE SAME PENALTIES AND RESTRICTIONS THAT GO TO PEOPLE CONVICTED OF DRUNK DRIVING.

There is not a whole lot of difference between the two crimes anyway.

SkidMark
Guest
SkidMark

I’ve thought about taking a picture of people talking on their cell phone while driving, but if I did that while i was riding my bike I’d be just as guilty as them.

Allan
Guest
Allan

I’ve been this guy, talking on my phone on a bike, or looking at google maps on my phone while biking. Yeah its dangerous… for me! Not for anyone else! That’s where I draw the line. I’ll put myself in danger but I don’t want to put anyone else in it.

When I do this, I tend to be riding slower so I have more time to stop/react. Feel free to put me in my place

Eugene Bicyclist
Guest

@ Allen #37
What if you hit a pedestrian, an old lady or a little kid on a bike. I don’t let you off the hook quite that easily.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
Guest

Allan,

With all due respect, I disagree with your perspective on many levels.

First, that’s the type of reasoning that drives people who primarily use motor vehicles crazy. It stirs up the perception that bikes want all the rights but none of the responsibility.

You also have no control over your assertion that it will only hurt you. If you are not paying attention to the road, you could 1) have a serious bike-on-bike collision 2) have a collision with a car 3) cause someone to swerve to miss you and collide with someone else 4) run over someone walking or pushing a stroller, or…

Bottom line is that, while I appreciate your “I’ll put myself in danger…” perspective, you have no way of making sure that is actually the outcome.

If you’re riding slow and using your phone and you end up riding into me while I’m driving my mini-van and I kill or seriously hurt you, I may not be “in danger” of physical harm, but I will be severely remorseful and mentally tormented for the rest of my life.

Just pull over to use your phone!

Whyat
Guest
Whyat

I have a tough time looking at comments like these on a bike board for the following reasons:

-If this article was about cyclists blowing through red lights and stop signs, a large number of comments would be defending that behavior
-I have seen an incredible increase in law breaking cyclists this summer (not California rolls, mind you, but aggressive and reckless riding)
-The reaction I always get when I call a cyclists out on breaking a law in a blatant and dangerous way is ‘F-U’, ‘Go F yourself’, middle finger waved, etc etc, even when said law breaker has almost hit me or put me into a position of danger outside of my control

If we are really concerned about everyone’s safety, let’s start somewhere that we CAN control- the PDX bike community. Let’s make the peer pressure for breaking laws on a bike unbearable. Until the bike community is able and willing to engage in this sort of self policing it’s hard for me to take the outrage above very seriously. We’re all on the road together, and a selfish vehicle operator is a selfish vehicle operator, be it a biker or a driver. The behavior and self righteousness (and the belief that they are too smart to get caught or cause an accident are EXACTLY the same). I’m not saying talking on a cell phone is good- it’s not- but this really appears to be a case of the pot calling the kettle black. And before someone says ‘bikes aren’t dangerous’, I’d like to see what people think would happen if a bike traveling 25mphb blew a red light and slammed into a 40 lb toddler.

Summary- let’s deal with our own bad behavior before we point the finger at everyone else. Until that happens…

Brad
Guest
Brad

Golly gosh darn! Banners and more media attention for our narcissist mayor – that’ll show ’em!!!

Get BTA off their butts and down at city hall to DEMAND enforcement. They should also extend an invitation to all concerned pedestrian activists, neighborhood associations, concerned parents, etc. to join for a mass demonstration.

Also, they need to let Sam know that they will call him out for his fake bike cred if he doesn’t comply. Get the other members of this alliance to jump on board and get their media contacts going if needed.

As an adjunct to the demand, start working on impressing civic leaders with how much ticket revenue can be generated with enforcement. This should be a no brainer at $190 a pop!

MIndful Cyclist
Guest
MIndful Cyclist

Allan: Tell that to a guy who’s $4000 carbon fiber bike you just totaled as well. Seriously, look him in the eye and say my distracted riding only “put myself in danger.”

Allan
Guest
Allan

I think the point is that we’re vulnerable… like pedestrians except that we move faster and sometimes unintentionally hide out where drivers aren’t expecting us. So we take the physical stress of others mistakes way more than they take ours.

Its not an excuse, its a rationalization! wait, are those the same?

Linda Marie
Guest
Linda Marie

Perhaps one of the reasons the police are not ticketing for this dangerous behavior is because they are too busy talking on their phones. I see it nearly every day in downtown and SE Portland.

Spiffy
Guest
Spiffy

the cell phone ban while driving law should have never passed… it’s another extra law to cover already existing distraction laws to give lazy cops an easy target…

the law needs to be repealed and distracted driving laws need to be enforced…

if you almost get hit by somebody, anybody, whether on a cell phone or not, driving dangerously call 911 and report erratic driving…

I know they won’t do anything… but if they start getting enough calls about it, especially calls about the same driver from different people, then they may start to piece together that they should do something in the future…

I’m going to get a helmet cam, or mount my cell phone and use that… if you send them a video of somebody breaking the law then they pretty much have to issue a citation…

HD cameras on every corner and people getting tickets in the mail might make people take it seriously…

until then stop blaming cell phones and start blaming idiots that don’t know how to drive…

davemess
Guest
davemess

Pardon my question (as I’m new to town). I’d heard PDX had passed a “stop as yield” law (where stop signs can be treated as yield by bikes).

Is this not true?

Why was it not passed?

matt picio
Guest

peejay (#2) – How about “Get off the f&$^ing phone”? Catchy, and tells them they’re being a jerk. That said, I also agree with Perry (#11) – let’s put some teeth in this offense. Studies show that texting/talking on a cellphone is equivalent to being legally drunk. Let the law reflect that.

Jack (#23) – I agree, but it needs protections so that the unemployed person doesn’t write bogus citations to get money. Give them a cameraphone to document the offenses – there’s thousands of unwanted (i.e. used and old) cameraphones that could be tapped for this purpose.

Roma (#25) – Huh? I don’t think your personal experience is a representative sample. I, along with numerous other people, can report incidents of near-misses just in the last month, let alone the 7 months since the law went into effect. The problem exists, and hands-free doesn’t fix it (as proven in more than one study)

Although you raise a really good issue – we need the laws for distracted driving, not simply driving while talking/texting/playing videogames on a cellphone.

Whyat (#40) – And that’s really the point, isn’t it? It seems like the first reaction most people have to being called out on bad behavior is “F you”, followed by what the Romans called “Digitus Impudicus”.

I’d argue not to start with the PDX bike community – I’d argue to start with everybody on the road – and to add (not to you personally, but folks in general), don’t be a hypocrite – if you’re going to start calling out bad behavior, A: do your best to not exhibit bad behavior yourself, and B: Don’t get so upset at other people who call out your bad behavior.

The issue, Whyat, with waiting is that you can’t control the behavior of others – only yourself. If we collectively wait until we’re all acting “appropriately”, we’ll never get started at all.

Steve B.
Guest

Driving: privilege or right? In order to inspire our driving culture in this country to be safer and more attentive, we need proper barriers. Imagine if you got caught on the cell phone 3 times in a 5 year period while operation your vehicle, you lost your license for a year?

My understanding is that this change has to happen on the state and federal levels. Anyone know much about how to change driving law to make it more in line with European equivalents?

Jarudi
Guest
Jarudi

Oh Jonathan. You really didn’t write this:

“laws are not just about enforcement. Laws send a signal to citizens about what type of behavior is expected of them”

Here’s an idea. All bike drivers stop at all stop signs and stop lights. Imagine how the good vibe of all that personal accountability and simply obeying the shared traffic laws would create an atmosphere where cell phone violators would feel guilty.

Please. Climb atop your pulpit and tell us all about what a stop sign means. How about putting your actions where your indignaty is and calling for this enforcement campaign?

dan
Guest
dan

Amazing how badly people behave. If I chastised a driver for running a stop while talking on their phone, I’d have expected that they would have the good grace to look embarrassed.

Guess not.

Maybe we should have a photo program, whereby submitting photos showing a driver on a cell phone and the car license plate will result in a $50 fine or something like that.