So today’s blog is a cross between a public service announcement and my personal rant. I guess that is the good thing about having your own blog…you can do that!
I was driving to OB appointment last week on a not so busy road. I had about 20 cars pass me during my time on this road. This is either driving in the opposite direction or to pass me (I do follow the speed limit, more so now that I’m pregnant). Saying that 12 of these people were talking on their cellphones. Full on holding a phone up to their ear and holding a conversation. Now I should let you know that I live in the province of Ontario in Canada and this is illegal. There is a law on the books that bans this. The summary is below and the more information can be found here.
Ontario’s ban on hand-held devices while driving took effect on October 26, 2009.
The law makes it illegal for drivers to talk, text, type, dial or email using hand-held cell phones and other hand-held communications and entertainment devices. The law also prohibits drivers from viewing display screens unrelated to the driving task, such as laptops or DVD players, while driving. The use of hands-free devices is still permitted, and drivers may use hand-held devices to call 9-1-1.
‘Hands-free’ use means that apart from activating or deactivating the device, it is not held during use and the driver is not physically interacting with or manipulating it. Actions such as dialing or scrolling through contacts, or manually programming a GPS device, for example, are not allowed.
Now many people are offenders of this law every day. I guess you can say it just REALLY bothered me on this particular day. Was I more sensitive because I’m with child? Would it have bothered me just as much on any other Wednesday? Probably, I just don’t know how vocal I would have been about it.
I talked about this with some friends and asked what they do when they get in the car? Most friends put their phone in their cup holders or their stands and go about their ride. One friend actually had a phone that once the Bluetooth was enabled it shut off all notifications until they were out of the car. I thought this was brilliant! My problem is once that ding, ring, ping, whatever the sound may be goes off, my brain is distracted and I’m wondering who called, emailed, texted.
Do we really need to be connected 24/7? A few years I would have said absolutely. Today I’m not so sure. I think we all need to be good stewards of the heavy machinery that we are operating and of our fellow citizens around us.
Being form the United States originally I know that each state has its own laws on cellphones. Did you know that only 15 states have a total handheld device ban? I was shocked that it was so low. I am also aware that are a few organizations in the United States where you can pledge to not text and drive but what about talk and drive? Oprah has a “no phone zone” but only 423,000 have taken the pledge. Seriously when Ellen can get millions of retweets on a picture from the Oscars, Oprah can’t get more than 500,000 people to pledge? What is the issue? Why have we become such a connected society? I certainly don’t have the answers but I’m ready to start the conversation. Did your cell phone habits change once you became pregnant or had kids? Are you a believer that we shouldn’t have any laws against this? Some laws? Let the conversation begin!