Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Happy new stupid law day!

One way to make yourself legal. This new handy handsfree device is called "The Snake".
Why am I not confortable with that?

DON’T USE YOUR CELLPHONE IN YOUR CAR! Unless it’s hands free.

The following is written with a thanks to Lawyer Kirk for the idea.

Seatbelts and helmets rules should be optional. The main argument against not wearing a helmet is that the government has to pay for the person in a vegetative state caused from a head injury. Most of the motorcycle accidents that I’ve been to, the driver would have been killed without their helmet, so that doesn’t wash. Seatbelt laws are ridiculous. You’re not allowed to cross the roadway in your car without your seatbelt, but you can cross the road with your motorcycle without one, so what’s up with that? I think that all these laws a just a revenue generating device for law enforcement.

Cellphone distraction might involve outside victims other than yourself, so I might concede that cellphone laws might be reasonable. Is there anyone besides myself that just doesn’t like to be told what to do, and how to do it, ALL the time?

Granted, when a law enforcement officer is driving at 110 mph and reporting his progress with a microphone in his hand, he has been trained to do that, and they are involved in very few accidents, but how do they know that I’m not highly trained at cellphone use while driving normal?

“Driving while tired” is also against the law, it is considered to be a form of impairment the same as being drunk. So if you are in an accident because you are tired, it’s your fault. That sounds reasonable to me, but I’m glad that law enforcement has not been issued “Sleep-o-meters” to check for sleep deprivation, or there would be “driving while tired” enforcement. Then, I would be in big trouble if they ever invent an “Attitude-Meter”, because I’m becoming guilty of driving with a bad attitude.

Someday you are going to pick up the newspaper and read that “Ernie was convicted of spitting on the sidewalk, jumping in a car and driving across the street without a seatbelt, while talking on his cellphone, then riding his motorcycle back across the street with no helmet while tired and drunk.” and “Mr. Branscomb was convicted to a twenty year sentence, but was committed to the state mental hospital on the recommendation of his wife, lawyer, and family."


EkoVox said...

What in the Hell did we do to communicate in the past. It waited until you get home or back to the office. There was a note waiting for you. Damn it, IT CAN WAIT!

I do have a cell phone, but I keep it in the catch-all. (glove compartment). I wear a pager. Then, if I WANT to call back, I will. If not, I wont.

Why do people have to talk incessantly on the phone? Especially in the check out line at the grocery store.

If you're in a car....Pull over and talk!

Rose said...

A toast to you, Ernie. And to Happy STUPID NEW LAW day.

Here's my proposal, we add a rider that says any legislator that voted for this hideous abomination who gets caught talking on their cell phone while driving is automatically removed from office. No ifs ands buts or appeals. Instant. Permanent. Removal.

You pass a law, you follow it. Period. Carol Migden watch out.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Rose, laws are for the "Little People", that would not be fair.

Ekovox,Not me, I went down to our local Radio Shack. (my Wife Janis) I bought myself a Motorola "Motoroker T505" Bluetooth speaker and radio transmitter. It plays over the radio in my truck. It also plays my I-tunes right off my phone, like "The last logger" by the delta Nationals. That way when I'm driving down the road and my cellphone rings, it tells me who's calling, if I want to talk to them, I tap the call button and say “Hello”, then I can talk hands free completely legal.

I put outside speakers on my truck and I just leave my phone there in it. That way I can still listen to the delta nationals, and if my phone rings I can just tap the button and turn the volume up and I can go back to working on whatever I’m doing. I have to use my “scream voice” so the receiver can hear me but at least I can communicate. After all “It’s all about me” so the rest of the world is just going to have to deal with it.

I don’t know how we got along before cellphones!

Carol said...

I am glad the law is here. I am tired of trying to not get hit by distracted drivers talking on their phone and not watching where they are going. I hope text messaging is outlawed soon.

Greg and I carry pagers, too, like Ekovox. That way you can catch a breath before you call someone back. Pull over, if you want to talk.

I have a bluetooth, but I don't like it.

Anon.R.mous said...

They can pry my CB from my cold dead fingers!

I can't wait until someone gets stabbed through the neck by the SNAKE. I mean, who in the hell thought that damn thing was a good idea?

Eric V. Kirk said...

When I was 16 I hit a parked car coming around a curve because I was playing with the radio. I would submit that radios are more dangerous than cell phones as they involve eye diversion as well as attention.

Why don't they ban car stereos?

Fred said...

Yeah. What all of you said!

Moviedad said...

Once again I have to say, "Well, if it will save a life then it's worth it." Damn, I hate doing that, it's the same old story, "its for your own good." well, maybe. I ride a motorcycle and I have had to do some really defensive driving where the person in the car, very obviously, was not seeing me and was talking on the phone, but still, doesn't it really just come down to not taking your eyes off the road? no matter what you're doing, don't take your eyes off the road. I agree that the stereo is just as dangerous as anything else. You can eat, drink a soda, roll a cig, do your taxes, just don't take your eyes off the road, not even to glance down.
But of course, I too am a 'Whipped-Dog' of an American citizen, and I will do what I am commanded to do. I am waiting for the new 'Hair-Laws' to come into effect, then I will see if I have any revolutionary spirit left.

Ernie Branscomb said...

People are killed in crosswalks everyday. Why don’t they pass a law against using crosswalks. You would save MORE than one life. People get killed in diving board accidents. Babies have choked to death on mothers milk.

At some point you will have to say that some things have an "Acceptable Risk" involved, and just deal with it.

Conversely, riding a motorcycle has four times the risk of death as driving a car. How long do you think that it is going to take before “Big Brother passes a law against driving motorcycles. Who’s life is it anyway?

Just in case there is someone that wonders, I have been known to play “Devils Advocate”, but some times the Devil is right!

Fred said...

Glad you feel that way, Ernie. I do find it odd, though, that this law was sponsored by a democrat in the state legislature, as are most nanny state laws passed in California. Yet you also seem to be a passionate Democrat.

mresquan said...

Would those here that support it,also support a law making it illegal to eat or drink while driving? I see alot more of that than cell phones.And Carol,one will get as easily distracted using the headsets.

Ernie Branscomb said...

“Yet you also seem to be a passionate Democrat.”

Fred, I’m a passionate “people person” I’m a lot like will Rogers, “I never met a man that I didn’t like”. (Except “Anonymous”)

I look for honesty, integrity, and character. Most of all I look for a person that hasn’t sold their soul to a philosophy, or a cause, and has a clear vision of what is really good for all of us, and not just a special interest. When I see that kind of a person, I have a tendency to support them. It pains me to have to choose between several good people.

I don’t like laws that regulate what I do to myself that affects nobody but myself. I distrust laws that smack of being a good easy way for law enforcement to generate revenue.

I was once told that being middle of the road would just get me run over; that I need to choose a side; Democrat, Republican, Independent, Libertarian, or one of many others. I have trouble just choosing one philosophy over another. So I am a staunch supporter of what is good for all of us, no matter what political persuasion. What am I?

Just like the existence of God this is something that I have spent a lot of time thinking about. My conclusion is to follow my gut.

Joe Blow said...

Oh! The struggles we go through to free ourselves.

It's called direction misdirection. We heard it took over 450 police to ferret-out a big pot grower and 55 mph saved gas, and on and on ad nauseum to what end? Well, the 55 mph made all of us lawbreakers. After a while, since we were already crooks, what did it hurt to grow, smoke and sell a little pot. All tax free, right? It's called subliminal programming. The results confront us every day.

Anonymous said...

I was chatting on my cell while driving today and remembered the new law so I pulled over to finish my chat, only then to realize I had parked illegally, oh well no law enforcement in the area that I saw, Although in two years and a couple million later, I might be the target of "Operation Cell Out"

Anonymous said...

Studies have shown that the distraction of dealing with a cell phone as well as the conversation can be as bad as a DUI. I don't like drunk drivers and I have seen first hand what can happen to a driver who is distracted by a cell phone . nothing can be so important as to endanger the lives of others.

Ernie Branscomb said...

You endanger the life of others as soon as you get behind the wheel of a car. We are endangered by other vehicles as soon as we merge onto the highway. Life has risk, and quality of life demands that we accept some risk. We just shouldn’t be legislating rules on people to reduce the risk of an accident. It should be balanced to a reasonable degree.

To demand that people not talk on a phone is disrupting to their lives. It is easy for us to say that they shouldn’t be endangering us just for their convenience, but they shouldn’t be driving while I’m on the road, they are endangering me while they are out there. Maybe they should just park while I’m on the road.

I guess what I’m saying is, there is a line somewhere between the sublime and the ridiculous. Cellphone use while driving is close to that line and it could fall either side, depending on who is doing the driving. Should a responsible person, who is not going to be distracted or impaired by a cellphone have to not use it just because there is someone else out there that will be distracted?

I guess the law says so…

Rose said...

It is a stupid, mindless, pandering sort of pat-themselves-on-the-back sort of legislation that accomplishes nothing but legislators can say they did something. Worthless, worthless, worthless. Can't reduce spending and get California back in the black, can't take on the tough problems, but they can sure as shit regulate whether or not you can talk on your cellphone in your car. What power! What guts and glory.

Carol said...

Would those here that support it,also support a law making it illegal to eat or drink while driving? I see alot more of that than cell phones.And Carol,one will get as easily distracted using the headsets.

Ah-oh, Mresquan has seen me guzzling to-go coffee while I drive! I see your point. Several years ago there was a fatal car accident on Highway 36, where the driver lost control of the car while changing cassette tapes. She lost control of the car, the car went over the side of the road and into the Van Duzen River. Mom and baby were killed.

I don't know if it is a status thing to be seen talking or texting (how does anyone do that and drive?) while driving, but where I drive, I saw a lot of talking and texting while driving. As a society we feel like we all must multi-task. What we all need to do is SLOW down, do one task at a time, and be present in the moment.

We have blue tooth technology in one of our vehicles, but it is still a distraction. One moment could save your life!

Fred said...

"I don't know if it is a status thing to be seen talking or texting...".

It certainly used to be. Not sure about now. I think now it involves a number of psychological issues:

Some people can't stand to be alone and hear their own thoughts. Thus, they need to have someone to talk to all the time.

To others, it probably is a status symbol of sorts by impressing people around them that all kinds of people are calling them all the time.

Others, as I've said before, just like to think they're so important they have to be connected with everyone at all times. AKA, ego- trip.

And there are some (like myself, of course:)))) that have cell phones just for their utility value and emergencies that only use them when they need them. I use mine maybe five times a year.

As an aside, I knew a guy that used to work at one of the Samoa pulp mills.

This guy was no bs-er. This was back in the early eighties before cell phones.

He was telling me he knew a guy that would go to parties. Before he'd go, he'd set up some people to call him while at the party. I guess it made him feel like a big- wig to have the phone ring in front of a bunch of people and the call would be for him.

Sounds weird, but like I say, the guy who told me that story was a straight shooter who didn't make things up.

Fred said...

As another aside regarding status symbols, or things, I just remembered:

Back in the early '90s I used to do the lawn and shrub maintenance at the Palm Reader house in Eureka. Lady Kathryn, the palm reader, was an early adopter of cell phone technology.

I had to ask her one time, as she was always with her cell phone, why she felt she needed a cell phone. She responded by asking, "You don't have kids, do you, Fred?", along the line of Rose's sentiments.

I thought that was a bit weird even back then. She couldn't seem to understand why I didn't see the importance of being in contact with anybody 24 hours a day.

Some time later we were talking about cell phones again. I told her I didn't need a cell phone but I was thinking of buying one of the phony ones that [I believe] the J.C. Whitney auto supply catalog offered. For a time they actually offered phony cell phones- the kind that fit on a car dashboard- certainly giving weight to the argument that cell phones hold value as a status symbol.

I told Lady Kathryn I had no need to buy a working cell phone. The phony ones are much cheaper. Besides, I told her, it doesn't matter that you actually have a working cell phone. It just matters that everybody thinks you have one.

She didnt' get it.

True story.

Ernie Branscomb said...

I've had a car phone, or in my case a truck phone since 1972. The first phone that I had was a regular dial phone that looked like a “Princess Phone”. It was even a smoky pink color. It belonged to the telephone company, and I just paid a monthly fee to use it. They were hard to get and I was on a waiting list for a while. The pink phone was kind of a turn-off, but I wasn’t about to turn it down. The phone was great for me, because I did commercial refrigeration and I had no secretary. People would call me because they knew that I would be answering the phone. It was a real sales plus when I was still promoting my business.

So I’ve been using a mobile phone for thirty-five (35) years. I don’t recall (Pun) ever having a close call (Pun-2) from using a cellphone. I use the phone to order parts while going down the road to my next job, it works well for me to be able to utilize my seat time to better advantage. If I have a call that requires my full concentration, I excuse myself for a bit while I pull over. I agree that some calls will take your full attention and you should pull over whether or not you are talking hands free. I have the experience to know that, and I believe that most people do also. Young people have trouble making the distinction of when they need to pull over, so I agree with the law that they shouldn’t use a phone while driving. They need to learn how to drive responsibly before they start using cellphones at the wheel.

I just don’t think that you can legislate wisdom.

Carol said...

We had a bag phone in one of our vehicles. It was so much better than the flip phones or blue tooth. It was analog, too, so we had better reception that with the digital phones. My daughters both have cellphones. the one that drives does not talk and drive, because he mom (me) has been harping for years, "Don't talk on the cellphone and drive".

Fred said...

Ernie wrote, "The first phone that I had was a regular dial phone that looked like a “Princess Phone”. It was even a smoky pink color. It belonged to the telephone company,..".

Back then ALL the phones belonged to the telephone company.

Ernie Branscomb said...

That was back before "deregulation" helped us all out. What was it that deregulation did for us????

Fred said...

I'm not sure. Seems to me there were some advantages to the old Ma Bell monopoly. Back then, if something went wrong with your phone, Ma Bell fixed it, no matter where the problem was.

Now, if your phone goes bad, you have to either figure out how to fix it, or buy a new phone. If something goes wrong with your phone line, you better hope it's from your junction box outward. Then it's their problem. If it's inside wiring that's screwed up, you fix it, or find someone who can.

I often wonder what it would be like now if they hadn't broken up Ma Bell? Would telephony be cheaper or more expensive? One thing's for sure, imo. It probably wouldn't be as diverse a field as it is now with thousands of different phones and phone plans to choose from.

Anonymous said...

I just don’t think that you can legislate wisdom.

Yes but you can legislate funds for education which may lead to wisdom, unfortunately our government would rather spend millions of dollars on chasing around a bunch of pot farmers in the hills who would probably be doing something else if our education system hadn't failed so miserably.

but you can't teach smart either.

Ernie Branscomb said...

I saw a guy yesterday wearing a tee shirt that made me laugh out loud, it said: "Ignorance is no excuse for the law".

Anonymous said...

Fred, do you remember that vacuum cleaner scene in one of Steinbeck's novels, I think it was Sweet Thursday or maybe Cannery Row. At that time having a vacuum cleaner was a status symbol. One of the characters in the book has a vacuum cleaner that doesn't work yet she pushes it back and forth in front of her picture window every day to the envy of all the neighbors.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Back when cell phones first came out, Radio Shack sold C.B. radios designed to look like bag type cell phones, complete with the small squiggly spring antenna.

They sold like crazy.

So, what is the latest must-have?

Ernie Branscomb said...

"So, what is the latest must-have?"

I just asked Brian, the cheeky counter guy, he said; "It's Bluetooth earpieces, dummy".

Robin Shelley said...

"Tortilla Flat", 2:17. The Steinbeck work you reference is "Tortilla Flat".

Anonymous said...

The latest must have, should always be a Corvette.
I don't have a phone at home but do have a company cell phone. I hate talking on the phone so I usually only hear from vendors and that is while I am at work with lots of mill noise. Once in awhile a friend or family member calls me, and when my phone rings, it scares the hell out of me.


humboldt dad said...


Anonymous said...

Humboldt dad, I agree with you. However my ceell phone is free, company paid and the Vette gets 24 MPG. One thing I do mind is the price of groceries because of the fuel costs.

Anonymous said...

Lots of negative comments have been deposited here over a new law designed to (hopefully) increase the safety on our roadways. Maybe we can look beyond how our so-called "rights" are being trampled upon. (Convenience=right, right?) Maybe we can consider how a few precious young lives may be saved with the message that operating a vehicle is worthy of our undivided attention. Since it's only a matter of time before the 55 mph speed limit law is re-enacted, I guess there will be more fist-shaking tirades from some of your angrier contributors. (Hello, Rose.)In the meantime, Ernie, why not sooth and distract us with another stroll down memory lane, as you did in February? Here's a trivia question with which to start: Since you can recall the old Midway Motel and nearby bowling alley, can you recall Tarantino's Restaurant on the NW edge of 101 through Garberville? Can you recall the name of the restaurant before it was Tarantino's? (Hint: Rotary used to meet there.)

Carson Park Ranger said...

I'm happy to have the new law. Jabbering on cell phones, applying makeup and building model ships are all distractions to drivers, and the vast majority are sufficiently distracted already.

Anonymous said...

Robin, in reference to "tortilla flat", how do you know these things? I think you and all the rest of the people of knowledge that comment here have way too much time on there hands. Maybe if they all worked 70, 80 hours a week they wouldn't be so up to date. Here's a thought, forget the National Guard and spend time fighting fires instead of talking on the cell phone.
I'm not being an Adam Henry here, just having fun writing to y'all.

Robin Shelley said...

Have you forgotten everything you learned in high school, 10:08?

Ernie Branscomb said...

Robin, I read "Tortilla Flat" in high school but I got about as much out of it as anything else that I was forced to do.

So I rebelled and read The "Secret Life of Walter Mitty" and patterned my life to be like him.

Mitty, my kind of guy…. Kerowac be damned! Okay then, Steinbeck. There’s a theory that he was the same guy anyway!

How did you know that I built model ships while driving? Getting them in the bottle is the hard part. Sometimes I even have to park.

Anonymous said...

My pet peeve is watching people drive down the road with a dog in their lap. There should be a law against that.

Robin Shelley said...

That Kerouac & Steinbeck were the same person, Ernie?!! Hardly! Kerouac sucked!
I read "On The Road" because an older friend of mine from that era recommended it to me in the 1970's &,when I was done, I decided that was enough of Kerouac for me & never read anymore of his work.
I've never been forced to read anything in my life but I will admit to struggling through "Wuthering Heights" for a junior high literature class. (Math was the subject that was "forced" on me.) Except for "Travels With Charlie", most of Steinbeck's writing appeals to me & "Grapes of Wrath" remains among my favorite books to this day.
I always thought Walter Mitty might be schizophrenic... and I'm beginning to wonder about Anonymous in Oregon, too!

Robin Shelley said...

As for "people with knowledge", Anonymous in Oregon, you know full well I can't be included in that category. I am a person of trivia... which is not to say I am trivial... just means I'm full of useless information... which is not to say I am full of, well, you get the idea. You'll notice that I jump right in the middle of the fun stuff but keep my mouth shut when it's important to know what you're talking about. I'm listening, trying to learn something. Teasing you in just pure fun... hope Ernie knows that's our "relationship".
Hey! Let's go crusin' with the top down today! It's hotter than you know where & Gold Beach is sounding good to me. Whaddya say?
We can talk about things like the National Guard & fire fighting & working too much & John Steinbeck & other important, trivial subjects.

Rose said...

Sounds like fun, Robin.

Here's an update/article from the TS on the costs of those cellphone tickets. It's a whole lot more than 20 bucks - Drivers in sticker shock over hand-held citations
Previously, California Highway Patrol said the citation for driving while talking on a hand-held phone would be $20 for a first offense and $50 thereafter, but those numbers don't factor in processing and other penalty fees.
Driving while talking fees
Base fee: $20
State penalty: $20
County penalty: $14
DNA Identification Fund: $4
Court penalty: $10
Surcharge: $4
EMS penalty: $4
Total: $76
Source: Uniform Bail and Penalty Schedules, California Rules of Court, Rule 4.102, January 2008 Edition

An interesting interview with an Officer who spent part of Tuesday looking for cell phone violators, making between 15 to 20 traffic stops.

No mention of how UTTERLY STUPID this law is.

Robin Shelley said...

DNA identification fund?!!

Anonymous said...

I cannot tell you how many times I have seen a woman climb into a large truck, and while she is backing out have one hand pressed to head as if the vehicle was primarily a phone booth. These observations have been made in small parking lots and backing out on Redwood Drive.
Sounds like I am picking on women, but I havent seen that initial impulse to talk in male drivers as much.
I gave a few friends seizures when they saw me holding a cell phone up to my head. It was a roadkill cellphone.