Here in Ontario, the provincial government is proposing a ban on hand-held electronic devices used while driving. That includes talking on cell phones and sending text messages when a driver is behind the wheel.
You know what's coming, don't you?
Some of the letters to the editor in today's Toronto Star bristle with indignation. Why are they focusing just on this, writers ask. What about people who drive while listening to loud music or ebooks? What about talking to passengers, eating, putting on makeup or smoking cigarettes? In effect, why is the government picking specifically on cell phones?
I want to stuff a cell phone into these people where you won't even be able to hear it ring. Yes, someone eating a hamburger while driving can be dangerous, too. So cell phones should get a pass just because the government hasn't proposed banning every possible distraction in an automobile?
Here's the deal: it's a car, not a phone booth. Drive now, talk later. This cell phone ban can't come soon enough for me, and I'm only disappointed that the government isn't including handsfree communications in that as well (although I suspect that, given the number of new cars that come factory-equipped with Bluetooth connectivity, there would be strong-arming from the automakers -- doesn't mean it shouldn't be banned, but I know how political pressure works). I've yet to see anybody who drives as well while yapping on a cellphone as he or she does when not. I drove while talking on a cell phone once, and vowed never to do it again when I hung up and realized I had absolutely no recollection of the last three minutes at 90 km/h on the road. No phone call, ever, is worth my life or the lives of the other drivers around me.