Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Hey look, no hands!

First let me say that I am not pro-car accident. I'm not, really, but I'm also a little ambivalent about the new cell phone law that goes into effect in January. Huh? What new cell phone law? This new cell phone law.
Again, to be clear, I agree that this is a problem.
"I told you John C. Reilly was 
in Talladega Niiiiights!" 
On January 1st it will become illegal in California to touch your cell phone with your hand for any reason while driving. No looking at maps, no texting and absolutely no settling stupid arguments by looking something up on IMDB. Which, yeah, I kind of thought that was already illegal, but I guess in January it will become super-duper illegal. On the face of it, it doesn't sound unreasonable. Of course you shouldn't be texting while driving and what kind of idiot is taking selfies on the road? A big huge one, that's what kind.

The law doesn't apply to wireless technology like Bluetooth but that's kind of bunk. My car isn't fancy enough for this feature, but I've ridden in cars that have it and I've never known anyone to be able to pair their phone with their car without it being an exercise in frustration. It randomly drops the connection, pairs with the wrong device or just straight-up doesn't work. It is, and I say this without an ounce of exaggeration, the worst thing ever.
"Pairing is easy. Fist you make your phone discoverable then you
tell the car to search for devices and then when nothing happens you
give up and plug in your wired earbuds because fuck this shit."
"Good question. Step out of the vehicle."
-Some cop

Also, the law's a little sticky about non-wireless use. Using your phone at all is completely illegal except when you have it mounted to the console and can operate it with 'the motion of a single swipe or tap of the driver's finger.' Which, c'mon. Most functions require more than one tap, but let's say you're just answering or hanging up on a call and you miss or if it misreads your tap and you have to try again. How does the cop know how many swipes you made on your phone in your car going past them at 70 miles per hour?

So again, I'm not suggesting that there totally shouldn't be laws about cell phone usage in cars, I'm just saying that the one that's going into effect is kind of ridiculous, full of ambiguity and relies on janky technology and psychic cops.
I'm also not really offering any solutions. I guess we could just ban cell phones in cars
altogether, but then we'd be left with radio on long commutes. Radio. Like goddamn barbarians.

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