Originally Published: October 9, 2018 9:19 p.m.
The county’s new law against hand-held phones has one benefit: Every driver will now have both hands on the steering wheel.
The downside is nothing has been done to avoid “distracted driving.” Because the distraction associated with cellphones is the actual call. Regardless of where the phone is, it is the phone call while driving that is the problem. Your mind is on the call and your driving goes into a “tunnel vision” mode. Your attention is not on the road and or the things going on around you in traffic.
A University of Maryland study showed that at 30 mph you have 1,320 items per minute that need to be attended to. What if your mind is on that phone call? Are you processing all the information you need to be driving safely? At least if someone has a phone pressed against their ear I can see that they are distracted with a call and not involved with the driving task. I can then go out of my way to avoid being in their danger area.
This new ordinance does not outlaw distractions. You can never outlaw all distractions, or we will have no radios, dogs or passengers aboard. Drivers need to be aware of distractions and deal with them while not driving.
I will not be happy if I am in a crash with a driver who is distracted with their phone call, whether they are holding their phone or not.