Ellen Perlman was a GOVERNING staff writer and technology columnist.E-mail: email@example.com
Here's the part I don't understand about Washington State's new law, or any other state's law, that prohibits driving while holding a cell phone to one's ear.
Lawmakers think it's dangerous to drive one handed. I don't disagree.
But they don't address features of phone calling that are far more risky -- but still required even when using a hands-free device. Such as looking down at the phone to dial someone's number, which can take drivers' eyes off the road for a good long time. And they're driving one-handed while doing it. And likely drifting into the next lane too.
Funny, also, that legislators don't include texting in their laws. I'm sure people are engaged in DWT - Driving While Texting. With both thumbs.
It's not illegal anywhere yet, but lawmakers in a handful of states are certainly looking into it, especially Washington State, which could become the first state to ban DWT. It's probably safer to drive holding a phone to your ear. At least you're watching what's going on in front of you. Not that I'm endorsing it.
In any case, are these laws enforced? I live in Washington, DC, which has a hands-free phone law. I see plenty of people flouting it daily. While turning corners. In big SUV's. Then there are the other people, the red-faced ones screaming at them to get off the !#$*^%!! phone.
It's a problem that needs solving, but we don't seem to be there quite yet.
Written and compiled by staff writers and editors, GOVERNING View is an on-the-ground, and sometimes behind-the-scenes, look at the topics we're covering in print and online. From notes on what's up in statehouses, county courthouses and city halls, to encounters with people, places and things, GOVERNING View is a window into the side of state and local government you don't always see.