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[whitespace] Look Ma, No Hands!

Is driving and yakking really all that dangerous? Well, yeah.

By Kelly Luker

HOW COME all the fun things in life are risky? It looks like we can chalk driving-and-dialing right up there with unprotected sex and street drugs--sooner or later, it will come back to haunt us. The more recent studies are losing the high-pitched hysteria common to earlier reports of cell phone use and driving ("Four times more likely to get in an accident!" "Just as bad as driving drunk!"). It now appears that cell phone use is no more dangerous than any other idiotic, attention-distracting activity, such as changing the CD, turning around to yell at the kids in the back seat, and closing one's eyes dreamily while singing along to Britney Spears.

This bit of logic has not kept politicians from leaping into the fray, introducing bills that would ban cell phone use while driving. So far, none have passed, but that hasn't kept various communities from adopting limits on cell phone use.

Newspapers have been quick to print cell phone tips for drivers, as if folks will actually pull over to make and take phone calls. Perhaps it's time to offer tips for the real world:

1) Don't end a relationship by cell phone while driving. Or at least, don't do it while hurtling over the Golden Gate Bridge, Bay Bridge, or anywhere else the lanes are narrow and the drop is long.

2) Don't eat while driving and chatting on the cell phone. At least, don't eat food that can drip and make a serious mess, in case another hand is required to retrieve some Wet Naps.

3) Don't check voicemail by cell phone while driving. Too much number punching. Too much concentration. No extra hands to write down the ensuing message (unless one is in gridlock, of course).

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From the August 31-September 6, 2000 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © 2000 Metro Publishing Inc. Metroactive is affiliated with the Boulevards Network.

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