Get yer bluetooths!

Posted: June 26, 2008 in Uncategorized

I never really thought I needed a cell phone, although a couple of times a month I wished I had one just for the convenience. Otherwise, my time in my truck was decompression time, crank my tunes, listen to the news, etc. But on my 40th birthday, there were three times I wished I had a cell on my way to celebrate with my sisters…and when I needed to call home toward the end of the evening, one of my sisters pulled a bad joke on my wife with her cell. So I started shopping for my own cell that next day.

I don’t actually talk much on my cell. For example, two years after getting my cell, I wanted to upgrade to a newer phone (the LG I originally got thru Verizon sucked), and the salesguy told me I averaged 74 minutes a month.

Anyway, I could easily tell that holding my cell and talking while driving was distracting…I genuinely felt very uncomfortable. Answering or dialing was much worse, cuz I’m fumbling around with the damn thing. So if the conversion wasn’t VERY short, I always pulled over, but watched other drivers talking or texting on their phones…one of whom I once saw rear-end another car in the next lane, hand and phone attached to ear. The rear bumper of my new truck survived unscathed when a cell user tapped my ass at a stop light. Saw some kid almost run someone off the road cuz he started making an unintentional lane change while texting. Yup, I was pretty convinced I wasn’t the only one who shouldn’t be holding a cell while driving.

Late last year I switched to AT&T and got a Sony w580i. I really like this phone, and I’m using it more than I used that old LG. But again, holding it to my ear while driving…uh-uh. So I got a Motorola H700 bluetooth headset…it’s more like an "earset". This thing is awesome. When I get an incoming call while driving, I just hit the button…no fumbling around with the phone trying to answer. And if I need to make a call, hit the button. But the best part is that I don’t feel distracted at all, and both hands are free (to grab the wheel, of course…).

But there are "experts" who claim that even hands-free phones will cause "inattention blindness".

The evidence is mounting that the conversation itself is the risk, not holding the phone. The research shows the risk of having an accident is about four times higher for drivers using cell phones, whether it’s handheld or hands-free.

Yeah, whatever. All I know is that I didn’t feel confident at all holding a cell while driving, but feel very comfortable having a convo with my earpiece. It’s not unlike talking to a passenger in my vehicle, or singing along with my tunes. Still, I only have a couple of calls a week while driving, and they’re almost always less than ten minutes in duration, so I’m certainly not the norm.

Anyway, I’m all set for July 1st…that’s when holding a cell while driving becomes illegal in Washington state. I can’t wait to see some kid get a $124 ticket cuz he considered a text reply as an emergency…

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