Yesterday, I talked about free speech. Today, I’m arguing for limitations on speech—not what you say, when you can say it.
California has joined at least 17 other states, including Texas, in banning talking on a cell phone while you drive—unless you use a hands-free device. And I’m going to argue that the law does not go far enough.
The exception for hands-free devices comes in spite of studies showing that the danger of using cell phones while driving stems not from taking a hand off the wheel, but from multitasking. Apparently talking on the phone uses so much bandwidth that it reduces the bran’s ability to process other data, including spatial relationships.
And the California law fails to ban texting, checking your email, or setting an appointment on your calender. I’m not sure about the Texas law, but all of these activities should be banned. Not only do they use much of your brain’s computing bandwidth, they also take your eyes off the road.
Am I a hypocrite about this? Yes. I have been known to drive with a phone pressed against my ear. Shame on me. If you see me doing so, feel free to honk and tell me I’m number one. I’ll know why.