Inside Opinion

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Tag: cell phones


Early adopter? Maybe not

Go out in public anywhere and invariably you see people looking down, checking their phone messages. It’s such a common sight that when I picked up today’s New York Times and glanced at this photo, my first thought was something along the lines of “Huh . . . they mean it when they say everybody’s got a cell phone now.”

Then I read the cutline and realized it was a photo from the 1930s, taken by photographer Walker Evans (read more about him here).

So no, the Alabama sharecropper in the photo isn’t an iPhone beta tester or even

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Bluetooth or the Borg?

For Washingtonians, Bluetooth’s moment arrives on June 10. That’s when it will become a primary offense to drive while operating, or texting on, a cell phone.

If California is any indicator, we will soon be embracing hands-free here. Cheryl Tucker points out that California’s already enacted law has further enabled a culture wherein wireless gadgets dangle from the average Californian’s lobes like a healthy crop of ear hair.

Hopefully the results of these new rules mean an increase in safety, though this is fact or fiction depending on which study you choose to believe.

But no study of which

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California: A glimpse of our future?

I recently took a spring break trip to Southern California and came away with two main impressions.

First, is everyone in California getting some kind of plastic surgery? If not, I don’t know how the huge numbers of surgeons are making money.

Ads for plastic surgery procedures are everywhere – on billboards, buses and benches. The local papers are full of them. (Hmmm….that could be a new source of revenue for The News Tribune, if only Northwesterners were as vain as Californians apparently are.)

Second, the tough primary offense law against cell phone use while driving appears to be

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The libertarian cell-phone car wreck lawsuit theory

This post on the Evergreen Freedom Foundation’s blog is the kind of thing that makes libertarian types look so goofy.

The apparent logic: Some people can drive safely while jabbering into cell phones, so the law ought to permit anyone to drive around with one hand on the wheel and the other fiddling with the phone. Otherwise, we’ve got a “police state” on our hands.

As a guy who’s been hit more than once by inattentive drivers, I’ll point out that driving isn’t a right; it’s a privilege. Letting cops take preemptive measures against unsafe practices isn’t exactly Stalinism. The rules aren’t written for the convenience of the best drivers; they’re written to protect me and everyone else from the worst drivers.
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Make phone use by drivers a primary offense

This editorial will appear in Monday’s print edition.

Stand on any busy street corner and watch the drivers go by. Count how many are talking on their cell phones.

It’s illegal in Washington to use a hand-held phone while driving, but you’d hardly know it by the number of people who are obviously ignoring the law.

Some research indicates that about 12 percent of drivers are on the phone at any given time. The law-abiding souls use hands-free devices. Far too many don’t. The worst are those who one-arm their steering wheels around corners or at 65 mph on the freeway while merrily talking to the hand.
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Get off the phone and drive!

I’m working on an editorial in support of making it a primary offense to talk on a hand-held cell phone while driving except for emergency purposes. (And yes, I know columnist Peter Callaghan thinks hands-free devices are just as unsafe. I disagree, figuring at least they allow drivers to keep both hands on the wheel. The research is also conflicted on whether hands-free is as dangerous as hand-held.)

In my research, I came across the latest roundup of where the different states stand on cell phone use by drivers. It’s only a secondary offense here, meaning police need to

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