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Should the city ban the use of cell phones while driving within the city limits?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on September 22, 2005

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Photo of Clint Wynn

“No, because cell phones can be important while you’re driving. People need to be in contact sometimes. They should just encourage people to use hands-free devices.”

Photo of Kasey Asher

“I think they should, but if the driver can prove it was an emergency, then they shouldn’t get a ticket.”

Photo of Cassie Taylor

“No, because I don’t think the city should try to control something like that. They should focus on more important issues.”

Photo of Rob Crane

“Probably so. It’s a safety issue. Cell phones are a little bit more interactive than other things you might do while you’re driving. Even if you have a hands-free device, you still have to scroll through the names or dial the number.”

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KsjKC 12 years, 9 months ago

I could care less if another cell phone is used in another moving vehicle for time eternal, I really could.

But why do we always try to close Pandora's box? Why are we stuffing snakes up drainpipes?

enochville 12 years, 9 months ago

The following is from:

Question: There are so many other driver distractions that cause accidents. Why focus on cell phones?

Answer: Phone conversations have been shown to cause a cognitive distraction in drivers. In other words, the driver's brain is intensely engaged with the conversation, although he may appear to be paying attention to the road. This does not happen with other common distractions, including conversations with passengers. Research has shown that phone conversations cause what is termed "tunnel vision" in drivers. Although they appear to be looking at objects, their brains are not registering a good portion of what they see. Therefore, a driver is impaired for the entire length of the phone conversation.

Question: I've heard that there aren't enough data to determine if talking on the phone is a danger.

Answer: The truth is that there is an abundance of data. There is scientific data as well as recently released crash data. All of the researchers agree that the risk of crashing is multiplied when a driver is talking on the phone. Not all agree to what extent the risk is increased, nor do they agree on what measures, if any, should be taken by lawmakers.*

Question: Why doesn't the use of hands free equipment solve the problem? At least both hands would be on the wheel.

Answer: The use of hands free equipment would free up both of the driver's hands during the phone conversation. However, since it's been shown that the distraction from cell phones is mostly a cognitive one, having both hands on the wheel will make little difference.

Question: I drive fine while on the phone. It's other people who can't seem to handle it. Why should I be effected?

Answer: Research shows that drivers are rarely aware of their own poor performance while on the phone, but have observed others driving erratically while on the phone. This would imply that a consequence of using the phone while driving is that it makes a driver insensitive to his or her own impairment. Much like an alcoholic feels sure that he/she drives fine while intoxicated.

enochville 12 years, 9 months ago

I know that there are many on this message board that are all for getting rid of laws that protect people from the harmful, or dangerous acts of others. Some, not all, may feel differently if their loved ones were killed or injured in a car accident by a driver on the phone. Some will argue that there are other reasons for accidents as well; you can't end deadly car accidents. Yes, but there are some practices that we know multiply the risk of an accident and can be prevented, thus cutting down on the total number of accidents and decreasing the risk that your family will be in one. Others will say, just because you make a law doesn't mean that people will obey it. Yes, unfortunately, too many people are killed by drunk drivers, but I am convinced that there would be more drunk drivers on the road if not for the law. I am grateful that cops get drunk drivers off the street.

Find a place to pull over or wait until you get to your destination to answer your phone. We have to accept that there are just times when we are unavailable to take a call. It wasn't that long ago when it was impossible for people to get ahold of us while we were driving and we survived then, and we can do so now.

enochville 12 years, 9 months ago

KsjKC: I dislike slippery slope arguments. Each law needs to stand on its own merits. I trust that when new issues arrive we will be reasonable in deciding those issues to. This is a serious issue that has data to back it up. Cell phones effect size is large. Picking your nose while driving or wearing plaid is not likely to have a large effect size on accidents.

I for one would like to prevent accidents, not simply punish more severely people who caused accidents as you suggested in your last sentence.

ku_law 12 years, 9 months ago

I am first. And No is the answer to the question.

Jay_Z 12 years, 9 months ago

Ban the city commissioners from making anymore decisions for Lawrence!

ku_bill 12 years, 9 months ago

Hmmm - perhaps you could ask the woman who backed into my car while on her cell phone and continued her conversation during the entire event - even after the police arrived.

KsjKC 12 years, 9 months ago

Enochville--- No offense--ruffled feathers and lack of caffeine..I've read enough of your posts in these forums to know that if we are not completely of a fig, we are in the same orchard..;)

spikey_mcmarbles 12 years, 9 months ago

It seems like every third driver I see is chatting on the phone.

KsjKC 12 years, 9 months ago

Enochville--as compelling as your evidence is, and truly it is -- when does it all stop?

We are legislating ourselves into a nation of drones of limited-to-no self-expression and civil liberty.

PLEASE--Do NOT Misinterpret:

I would STILL like to slap the taste out of the mouth of every inconsiderate jackass with a wireless device unable to detach himself from it long enough to drive downtown...or across the frappin' street...

I find it rude, unutterably so, how people barely acknowledge the people waiting on them at a grocery store or coffee bar while they mindlessly blather about nothing (!) to their friends or family...

But dammit, one of the days, people on the City Commission will decide to ban PLAID if someone researches it thoroughly enough and I for one have had it...

To the person involved in the fender-bender with the offending driver that continued to yammer even after the police arrived--I feel for you. The cop should have grown a pair and taken away that phone...

We need to learn WHEN to punish--In response to an offense, not in anticipation of one.

KsjKC 12 years, 9 months ago


I do not own a cell phone--I don't want one. I have no vested interest in this issue personally.

My question has not been answered: When is enough -- enough?

You dislike slippery slope arguments? I'm not a fan of condecension. Nor am I fan of living in a society in which we must increasingly be protected from ourselves...

Is a ban the answer for the prevalent ills of society?

Jayhawk226 12 years, 9 months ago

The City of Chicago just enacted this law, as of July 1. The Chicago Police admitted this is a very difficult law to enforce, though did issue 700 tickets the first day. That's nothing compared to the 2.5 million people that reside within the city proper.

They have since given up on ticketing cell phone users, and now just illegally tow cars after "not feeding" their meters.

Oh well, our murder rate is lower than the KC murder rate. Maybe we're onto to something!

enochville 12 years, 9 months ago

KsjKC: I am truly sorry if I have said anything to offend you. I was not trying to be condecending, and I don't think you are a fan of talking on cell phones while driving. If it makes a difference, my 5:59am post was written before I read your first comments.

KsjKC 12 years, 9 months ago

I want very much to think that in a town like Lawrence, that the threat of a citation itself would cause people to be more considerate, but I do see more and more reasons to make me realize I'm apparently just watching a more intellectually-sound rerum of LEAVE IT TO BEAVER...

People in this town will do what they want over what they think is right more and more...Cynical much? Yes, I guess I am..

We are Overland Park with a Doctorate ...

Jayhawk226 12 years, 9 months ago

Don't insult yourselves proud of the doctorate, but perhaps inherit the likes of another town.

I would hope my five years in Lawrence never made me similar to the OP'ers.

enochville 12 years, 9 months ago

KsjKC: "When is enough enough?" is a difficult question to answer. No one can know what future activities will put others at risk. So, let's look at it from the present...

I've tried to come up with a blanket statement of when enough is enough and I haven't been able to, yet. I think it is a question that would take more time to answer than I have time to give it. Overarching philosophies are nice and useful, but I also have no problem taking the Sandra Day O'Conner approach and restrain judgments on the worthiness of a law to the specifics of the case.

KsjKC 12 years, 9 months ago

Some self-governance would be ideal in this situation -- But what is ideal is also perhaps a tad unlikely...

I believe it was in the article that someone mentioned the usefulness of a cell phone in an accident or disabled vehicle situation..My folks are in their 70's and have a cell phone .. in their trunk .. that they would use in that type of crisis ... I get a giggle that they'd put that phone so far away from them -- a septugenarian temptation??

Remember CB Radios? Did we have this problem then or were they too marginal a product in their heyday? I was a kid .. so a better historian or someone who was there, chime in ...

Jayhawk226 12 years, 9 months ago

I was just listening to WLS-AM 890 in Chicago...

...we will now be passing a new Chicago ordinance to ban Jaywalkers--but only to free up traffic and not to raise more revenue. So they say!

Citations will range from $75-700 per citation.

Hey Lawrence, here's something to add to your banned list now!!!!

Jayhawk226 12 years, 9 months ago

I read the paper everyday on my commute...

...and drink my coffee too! And still manage to honk at the other idiot drivers that slow me down too!

Sorry if I honked at you other day, the middle page of the sports section was missing from my Tribune.

KsjKC 12 years, 9 months ago


Yep--Reading; Applying Make-Up; saw someone with a document perched on the steering wheel with a pen poised over it...Wonder if it was their last will and testament?;)

Late at night, on barely populated roads, I do not disdain other adult activities, but I digress..;)

legolas1996 12 years, 9 months ago

It has been proven that hands free cell feature on a cell phone is just as distracting as if you were to just talk on a cell phone by itself. They just need to ban ALL cell phones conversations by drivers in cars. If you guys dont like it, suck it up.

Jay_Z 12 years, 9 months ago

I hate it when people talk on their phones while driving, so I'm not against ticketing people for it. BUT, if talking on your cell phone is distracting (which I agree with), should we ban the driver from talking to other people in his/her car while they are driving down the road?!

trinity 12 years, 9 months ago

hah, e_m that was good!

i hate hate hate the idea of a ban...increased fines maybe? or just leave it alone, i don't know what is best here. i suppose the "justice" happens whenever somebody who is otherwise occupied while driving sustains injury or worse while they are so occupied; however that doesn't even begin to assuage an innocent person or their family who have to deal with the aftermath of somebody's stupidity.

i would just love to rip cell phones out of driver's hands when i see it going on. whenever one of my kids calls me(all grown)i ask 'em if they're on the road; if they say yes i promply end the conversation&tell 'em to call me when they've reached their destination. there is NOTHING more important than paying attention to your driving!

i have yet to see a comment on something else that just makes me boil, re cells in cars-i see people trying to freakin' TEXT MESSAGE on their phones while driving! good lord.

i'd hate to see a "ban"-but the idiots, they are all around us. color me ambivalent on this one.

neopolss 12 years, 9 months ago

I see cell phones as growing larger and larger, and my concern specifically is with teen drivers on cell phones. Lack of experience driving + cell phone distration = insurance claim for me. I'm not one to support banning anything, but I could see insurance companies raising rates on those who own cell phones - perhaps I am on to a different solution. Hopefully most will use better judgement.

As for the comments, Kasey and Clint should know that there once was an age without cell phones, and even then, when emergencies arose, we were able to be found and contacted. We live in such a NOW NOW NOW society these days. What happened to patience as a virtue?

blessed3x 12 years, 9 months ago

enochville wrote:

"Question: Why doesn't the use of hands free equipment solve the problem? At least both hands would be on the wheel.

Answer: The use of hands free equipment would free up both of the driver's hands during the phone conversation. However, since it's been shown that the distraction from cell phones is mostly a cognitive one, having both hands on the wheel will make little difference." JayZ has a point. Should we ban all talking while driving? If it is a cognitive issue, then surely ANY conversation is a distraction.

Personally, my yelling back at my kids "quite touching your brother and give back his hamburger" every five minutes is much more of a distraction than talking on a cell phone. Maybe we should ban kids!

....uh you suppose the city commission read that?

Hurry, people! Lock little Johnny safely away in the basement where the City Stormtroopers won't find him!

Hong_Kong_Phooey 12 years, 9 months ago

I'm all for banning cell phones while driving. I think it should be a state law, not just a city ordinance, if for no other reason than to keep Katie Chi-O and friends from yabbering all over town. I saw a car (an SUV of course - with Johnson County plates) driving with four sorority girls in it (the Sorority sticker on the back gave it away), and ALL FOUR were on their cell phones!

Seriously, I think that people talking on their cell phones while driving is the equivalent of being a drunk driver. Ya'll don't want drunk drivers just careening around town, do you?!

jayhawks71 12 years, 9 months ago

For those who like to SEE the research with their own eyes. Dr. David Strayer and colleagues at the U. of Utah are in the forefront of research on cell phone usage in cars and has published a number of papers on the topic. Strayer, Cooper & Drews (2004) is one of the more readable articles for those of you who are not inclined to read academic research reports; it's brief too!

As one of you said, hands-free devices lead to inattention blindness which significantly impairs driving. I find it (un)interesting that one of the respondents on the street said to "use hands-free phones" and that some of the legislation allows hands-free phones under the faulty assumption that fumbling for and dialing a phone is the main culprit.

blessed3x 12 years, 9 months ago

...ummm. Actually I say "quit touching your brother" although I do have to say quite alot.

stupid soda-less mornings....sheesh

sharron5rs 12 years, 9 months ago

Its just another road to Big Brother. Talking on a hands free is like talking to someone in the seat beside you,except ,you dont take your eyes off the road to use the hands free phone. What will be next?

enochville 12 years, 9 months ago

In response to the idea that driver to passenger conversations are just as distracting as driver to cell phone conversations, the research shows this, as I quoted above: "Phone conversations have been shown to cause a cognitive distraction in drivers. In other words, the driver's brain is intensely engaged with the conversation, although he may appear to be paying attention to the road. This does not happen with other common distractions, including conversations with passengers."

I don't know why that is the case. Perhaps it is that with a cell phone you are mentally transported to some other place like what happens when you are day dreaming. There you go, ban day-dreaming; you'll have a fun time trying to enforce that. Or, it may be that passenger conversations are less distracting because they can see what is going on outside the car and can pause the conversation until you take care of some driving procedure that requires increased concentration.

In any case, I think when we find that the person we are on the phone with is driving, we should ask them to call us back when they are no longer driving, just as trinity does with her kids.

ive_got_my_ascot_n_my_dickie 12 years, 9 months ago

As a big bad biker, I fear no man....but soccer moms on cellphones scare the hell out of me. If you need to make a call, pull over.

John Spencer 12 years, 9 months ago

Hey TOB, thats my line! Enochville could you site reference? I would like to read this info, thanks. Also, the ban is not on all driivers, just teen drivers, at least the is the request from the NTSB.

concerned_citizen 12 years, 9 months ago

Yay! Let's give the city yet more control over our lives and autonomy! I'll just get a car mic and it'll look like I'm singing along with the radio and no one will be able to tell that I'm calling time/temperature solely for the purpose of pissing off all you whiners who want the city gov't to fix everything in your life that you don't like. All you safety monkeys can just stay the hell home and off the roads. Better yet - give me YOUR phone numbers so I can call you while I'm driving down the road to let you know that I'm doing it. Sheesh. If laws could make people better drivers...

craigers 12 years, 9 months ago

I don't know about other people but when I am on my cell phone in the car, usually with a hands free kit, then I pay more attention to the road than the conversation. I know I always have to ask the person I am talking to What? Huh? Can you repeat that? Not that I am trying to be rude to them, but I do try to concentrate on the road.
And enochville, I don't know what you are talking about. I have no problem driving my car while talking on my PCS. :) It must be those other drivers you are talking about.

I would encourage hands free kits and if an accident happens because of somebody talking on their cell phone, then ticket them. Other than that, NO BAN!

smartypants 12 years, 9 months ago

I almost ran over a man on a motorcycle once because I was talking on my cell phone and pulled out in front of him. I'm sure that he thinks they should be banned.......

ladysilk 12 years, 9 months ago

Yeah, more banning!!!

My job requires me to be connected 24/7 and if I get an emergency call in my car I am going to take it and keep on moving because chances are where I am going is to work to save someones butt.

smartypants 12 years, 9 months ago

In my defense however, it was a bad intersection and I drive equally bad whether I am on the phone or not!

italianprincess 12 years, 9 months ago

I just got a family plan for myself and my son. At the same time some people who talk and drive can't multi task.


To the lady who was pulling into the Checkers parking lot off of LA across from Pet World.......... You were chatting on your phone and holding onto your little rat dog in your lap with your other hand. I take it you were using your knee to steer which almost caused you to crash into my car. Get a grip, leave the rat home, get an ear piece or wait to chat after you pull into a parking space.

As you can see here.......even though I myself now yet another cell phone, you won't see me chatting while driving. I have missed calls, but I can always call them back.

Cell phones while driving can be quite dangerous, but to ban it completely would be wrong. People who choose to talk while driving should purchase an ear piece or just wait to chat after they are at the destination.

Its a safety matter and if someone hits my car because they were to busy chatting believe me I will certainly mention that to the officer at the accident.

MadAsHell 12 years, 9 months ago

Just ban women drivers... that would take care of about 80% of the accidents in this city!!

bankboy119 12 years, 9 months ago

Unfortunately whoever decides on all these ridiculous rules thinks by banning EVERYTHING people will be better off. Kind of like the government interfering in EVERYTHING and putting money to programs they think will help. IT DOESN'T WORK. But since the government makes the rules it's kind of pointless to tell them they're wrong because they don't listen. Just like the city commission. Idiots.

avhjmlk 12 years, 9 months ago

I would hate if a cell phone ban would miss the people who are not only texting on their phones, but EMAILING ON THEIR BLACKBERRIES! That requires you to not only look away from the road, but form and spell out semi-complete thoughts while typing with your thumbs...both thumbs, mind you. I've been in a car while the driver was blackberrying (he's an attorney, and his firm expects him to respond 24/7), and I was scared s**tless.

I personally disagree with a ban. I'm all for adding "inattentive driving due to cell phone use" that has a higher fine than plain old "inattentive driving," but a ban is nearly impossible to fairly enforce, and really hard to warn about.

jonas 12 years, 9 months ago

Enochville: In regards to the research on cognitive distraction of cell phone conversation vs real time conversation, the likelihood is the difference is the mechanical interface vs the naturalness of talking into the air. That said, it won't be much difference, and my guess is that if the researchers say there is then their research is flawed in some way. Real time conversations are very distracting as well.

As for when "enough is enough," I wouldn't even try to find a universal statement that attempts to answer that question, as such statements are invariably false, with one exception. If there is a truism to any of this, it's that when enough is enough is when it becomes impossible to either make or maintain a particular law, ban, action etc. due to sufficient opposition. That line will undoubtedly shift with the societal beliefs of the time, so even if it is not more than enough now, something (like this ban, smoking ban, patriot act etc) may or may not be too much in the future, and thus struck down, like-say- prohibition was.

At any rate, this ban is, in my opinion, a mistake. Not just because, like many others, I am weary of being "protected" by an over-reaching parent government, but more because this law would be, as some have noted, virtually impossible to evenly enforce. The likely result would be that it would become a "cop having a bad day" ticket more than anything else.

Oh yeah, the one exception is "Everything would be better with ninjas."

avhjmlk 12 years, 9 months ago

Also, have any of you guys ever seen the man who drives I-70 from KC every morning in a little old Honda Civic (or similar, probably 1989 or 1991) that is stacked halfway up the windows with newspapers, magazines, and scholarly journals? THAT about made me drive off the road the first time I saw it. He's a pretty skinny-looking guy, but his car low-rides because of the 10 tons of paper he drives around every day. I can't imagine how poor his gas mileage must be!

smartypants 12 years, 9 months ago

I was driving to work one day on 435 and I saw a guy that was drinking coffee, eating a doughnut and reading the newspaper. Not just glancing at it, but really reading it. We were going eastbound into the sun on top of that. Ban newspapers.....

jonas 12 years, 9 months ago

avhjlmk: That guy went by me yesterday when I was driving the bus. OCD, methinks.

avhjmlk 12 years, 9 months ago

Seriously! I thought that I was a packrat...

enochville 12 years, 9 months ago

Someone wanted the stats on the number of crashes due to cell phone use versus the number of crashes due to talking to passengers. From:,,SB111879162641559699-Ihjg4Nmlal4n5yranqHbKuGm4,00.html

"But the Virginia Tech study videotaped 100 cars and their drivers for a year for two million miles and 43,000 hours, and found that drivers involved in crashes, near crashes and incidents -- defined as an evasive maneuver, though not as urgent as a near-crash -- were far more likely to be using their wireless device as any other single distracting activity.

Wireless devices contributed to 644 events, including six crashes. The majority of those occurrences, including all the crashes, happened while drivers were on the phone talking and listening, rather than dialing a phone number. The next-biggest distraction, with 411 crashes, near-misses and other incidents, came from "passenger-related" issues, including talking to a fellow passenger and placating children in rear seats."

enochville 12 years, 9 months ago

Here is the deal with headsets: "Another NHTSA study that looked at driving and phone usage, presented at a traffic-safety conference last week, raises further questions about the added safety benefits of using headsets and other "hands free" devices. Researchers had 10 participants drive vehicles for six weeks with three different types of phones: hand-held, hands-free headsets and hands-free phones with voice dialing. The voice dialing was so unpopular that drivers ignored instructions to always use it and dialed manually half the time. Hand-held dialing took less time.

NHTSA researchers noted that the promise that hands-free phones let drivers keep both hands on the wheel may not be true: Drivers steered with both hands on the wheel only 13% of the time when not on the phone and between 13% and 16% with a hands-free device. With hand-held phones both hands were on the wheel less than 1% of time.

The researchers also found drivers looked at the road ahead less while dialing manually (40% of time) than hands-free dialing (50%). That compares with 70% of time looking ahead in driving without talking on a cellphone. While talking, drivers became less aware of their surrounding situation -- instead looking straight ahead most of the time (90% of time for hand-held phones and 77% for hands-free phones, compared with 70% in normal driving)."

enochville 12 years, 9 months ago

I would add that just because some people through technology or whatever are better at not getting caught doesn't mean we shouldn't have the law.

Some drunk drivers can avoid getting caught; some bank robbers use high tech devices that decrease the chances of them being caught. Oh, no! the laws against drunk driving and bank robbery are unfairly enforced on criminals who are not very savvy, we should get rid of them because that is unfair. (Sarcasm)

Jayhawk226 12 years, 9 months ago

OMB....if we were banning Jayhawkers, oh my! What a loss to the city. I think I'd have to move for certain.

Fortunately, it's Jaywalkers...phew.

Aiko 12 years, 9 months ago

If they move forward with this "ban" then they should ticket people as well for eating and drinking in their vehicles. I have seen on many occassions people eating off of plates while they drive. What is next? No more banning!

l_eustacy 12 years, 9 months ago

Those roundabouts make it really hard to use a cell phone.

Confrontation 12 years, 9 months ago

I hate driving anywhere near a cell phone user. I've been stuck behind them at red lights, and they are the last the realize when the light turns green. I've been cut-off on I-70 by someone who didn't have a full range of site due to the cell phone on her ear. I was rear-ended by an idiot JoCo brat who was on her cellphone. I get cut-off nearly every day by someone who can't judge their distance from my car because of cell phone distractions. The worse, by far, are the older adults on cells (who can't drive with or without them) and the soccer moms in their minivans who are in a rush to get to McDonald's. Seriously, ban cells and require IQ tests for driving. That would eliminate 90% of the people around here.

enochville 12 years, 9 months ago

Informed: That is fine. We just disagree. I was addressing the reasons people often give claiming that talking on the cell phone while driving is not putting the public at risk. Some people asked for the data I gave.

Lowell Holmes 12 years, 9 months ago

First of all, it is an unenforcable ban. Second, even if it could be enforced isnt there already something on the books called inattentive driving? That could cover all distractions and not just single out one thing. I agree that people who are talking on cell phones are pretty much zoned out of the world around them. Twice in the last 2 weeks I witnessed someone blow through a stop sign while talking on their phone. They didnt even realize they had done it. Neither one even touched the brakes at all, just kept going oblivious to everything but that little box on their ear.

sunflower_sue 12 years, 9 months ago

Guilty! I have a cell and will "receive instructions" while driving. What that means is: I NEVER dial the phone. If it rings and the kids are in the car, they answer it. If not, I'll answer it but only long enough to find out if I need to pick something up before I leave town (I live in the country). I don't use it as a "conversation" device.

I have to admit that I'm hypocritical as I hate to see people yapping away on cell phones in the car.

I'm still not convinced that cell phones are any more distracting than other stimuli...such as children. I find them way more difficult to deal with at times.

Jayhawk226, Lawrence already issues tickets for Jaywalking! Seems Chicago is behind us.

Tammy Copp-Barta 12 years, 9 months ago

Ban .. ban .. ban .. that's all Lawrence does!

Fireworks, smoking, cell phones ..

Lawrence!! The BANNING City!!!!

Linda Aikins 12 years, 9 months ago

JAYWALKING (partial listing)


Jayhawk226 12 years, 9 months ago

Indeed it is come to think of it....more more more!!

beatrice 12 years, 9 months ago

I'm sorry, but I can throw my weight into supporting only one ban a week. Someone else will have to carry the ban-ner on this one.

concerned_citizen wrote "safety monkeys." I keep picturing the witch's flying monkeys wearing bike helmets.

TOB: Do you know where I can find some Soylent Green? All they have around here is bite-size packages of Soylent Yellow, which are really expensive.

Ceallach 12 years, 9 months ago

If this question has been answered I apologize. There are just too many posts, too early, for me to justify reading all on "the man's" dime.

I keep reading that it has been proven, or it is a known fact that hands free devices do not lessen the distraction, and the distraction is higher than if the driver is having a conversation with a passenger -- when and where was it proven?

I use a hands free device (on my cell phone:) and I believe it is much less distracting than holding the phone while talking.

How did our little blue dot in a big red state get started on this road to Big Brotherism? For crying out loud -- ban the banning!!

Curtis Lange 12 years, 9 months ago

Most of the people complaining about not going forward with the talking on a cell phone while driving ban are most likely the ones doing the talking. And since it seems everyone and their mother are talking and driving nowadays, its no surprise this question stirred up so many responses by 1130am.

Yes, ban talking on cellphones while driving. It is a very dangerous practice that takes your mind off the road, even if the cell phone talkers say otherwise. Personally, I've seen all kinds of near accidents involving people talking on their phones. Even worse is when an emergency vehicle is trying to make their way through traffic and the one car that will not yield to them is some douche on a cell phone.

The 'Against' picture in the story is complete BS. The ban calls for people not talking on their phone while driving, it says nothing about not being able to have a phone in your car. You can call the place your heading to beforehand to tell them you're running late. Isnt that how they did it before cell phones? rolls eyes If someone calls and you really, really want to talk to them; pull off the road and answer the phone.

If this ban goes through, true, it might be hard to enforce. However, hopefully most people will get the picture when people are flying past them honking and/or giving the ones on their phones the finger.

KristinP 12 years, 9 months ago

This is what I believe for my own life ... I don't feel they should be totally banned, however, I believe that people should be required to use a headset or a speaker so as not to have to use their hands for anything other than driving. The way I see it is that when you have a passenger in your car, you can usually concentrate on driving while talking and I also think that people really do need to be aware if anything (be it eating or drinking, changing the stereo, talking with a passenger, whatever other than driving, in their car) that would break their concentration in traffic. It's the right thing to do to be aware of traffic and others in it while you are in traffic. I also believe that if you are not using speed dial on your phone or if you are trying to dial a number while driving that that should be handled either while stopped or you should pull over to do so because I know that I can't look at the phone for 2-3 seconds to dial because it only takes a second for something to change in traffic. So, my idea is that they should not ban cell phone altogether but if an officer sees someone using one hand to hold the phone to their ear or attempting to dial while driving (not in an idle position) then they should get a small fine for inattentive driving and I think that is already a moving violation anyway that could be used in this instance. We, as citizens, should not always be so concerned about ourselves and handling our own lives when there this city and even the surrounding cities are growing so fast that it is causing more and more traffic. These are only my opinions and you know how opinions are -- right?? LOL

avhjmlk 12 years, 9 months ago

I still haven't seen any good ideas about how we inform "outsiders" about the ban so that they have notice before they get ticketed or arrested? I don't live in Lawrence, but I drive through all the time, and if I can just say "I don't live here, I didn't know" all the time and continue to get off with warnings, what good does the ban really do?

Jayhawk226 12 years, 9 months ago

Ignorance of the law doesn't forgive anybody.

Ticket away baby!

avhjmlk 12 years, 9 months ago

Agreed, TOB. "D*mn the Man! Save the Empire!"

(Ok everyone, name that movie...)

Curtis Lange 12 years, 9 months ago

avhjmlk, the majority of people coming to lawrence are from Kansas City. Big Lawrence news like this makes it into KC news, like this already has. People will know.

How are students going to lie when they obviously LOOK like a college student and have a parking permit hanging from their mirror?

lunacydetector 12 years, 9 months ago

what about cell phone use and brain tumors and driving while on the phone with a brain tumor?

that would cause a distraction.

Staci Dark Simpson 12 years, 9 months ago

Get off the "ban" wagon already!!! Ban this, ban that! Welcome to Lawrence, City of Bans. Whats next? Banning people smoking in cars while talking on cell phones? I saw a post after the article that said the phone caused a blind spot. What were you holding up to your head? How big is your head? I don't think cell phones are causing many accidents. My husband works at a body shop and has been told all the shops in town are dead. Maybe no one wants to come to Lawrence anymore because they are afraid they will be banned.

Ceallach 12 years, 9 months ago

If we ban talking on a cell phone, I don't think we should stop there. We must also ban parents disciplining their children while driving. People eating while driving. And of course, no hugging or smooching while driving!

Let the banning begin!!!

avhjmlk 12 years, 9 months ago

I actually wasn't thinking primarily of students. I was thinking of visitors (either visiting friends/relatives or visiting the city in general). What kind of a welcome mat would we be if the first thing that happened to a visitor was to get slapped with a huge ticket and a court appearance for driving while talking on a cell phone because she was trying to get directions, or make plans to meet someone, or letting her family know that she got to town safely?

avhjmlk 12 years, 9 months ago

Besides, it's not an issue of "people" knowing. Its an issue of actual fair legal warning. It's legally not fair or right to punish someone for something they weren't aware was illegal...I'm not talking about someone claiming they didn't know you couldn't possess alcohol <21 years old, or driving without a license, or somethign that is illegal nationwide.

lunacydetector 12 years, 9 months ago

what about riding a bike and using a cell phone?

the City needs to go after the root causes of all these scary problems!

ban automobiles since they pollute and people wouldn't have an accident if they weren't driving a car. might as well ban gasoline sales too, because automobiles run on gasoline and if there wasn't any gas, then people couldn't drive.

ban talking. people wouldn't be talking on the phone if it were against the law to speak.

why not ban electricity? that would take care of any businesses who want to operate, it would outlaw the battery used to light that cigarette - no, ban fire! no fire, no problems. we could go back to living off the land (but what about the green spaces?), and then there are those defensless plants we would eat. how would we keep warm.

perhaps, lawrence should just ban eating, then we would all go away. after all, the fats in our foods will kill us as well.

why don't they just ban humans? isn't that what the liberals want after all?

google search some liberal communities and see what they are suggesting to ban or what they have banned. you gotta look way out there. i saw one community wanted to ban driving on certain days of the week. ain't that special? it is the future looking right at us with these crack pots running the ship.

gccs14r 12 years, 9 months ago

People who can't talk and drive can't drive. Take the car away, instead.

dotteboy 12 years, 9 months ago

Hey lunacydetector, if you don't love her, leave her. Every conservative republican drone tells me that after they say freedom isn't free and we are paying the rent in Iraq and w/USAPatriot. What can be so impotant you would have to have a cell phone stuck to your head all hours of the day? Have republicans fallen on such hard times they have taken to working from their cars? Most fortune 500 companies have termination clauses for driving while on the phone, for liability reasons. Liberals don't want to ban humans, just you. It would be a bogus ban until something happened to you, then you would spin around to the dark side like Ari Fleischer's dradel.

GreenEyedBlues 12 years, 9 months ago

If I've got things to discuss while I'm driving, I'm going to answer calls, place calls, and maybe bust out a few IMs. ESPECIALLY on the weekends. The minutes are free and I've got a lot on my mind.

Everyone jumps on people with cell phones as if they're part of an Al Qaeda conspiracy to hike up Amurrican auto insurance premiums.

What about those Wal*Mart shoppers barreling down Iowa (with litters of six Kool-Aid mustachioed in tow) reaching in the back to try and beat at least three of them?

Or people that read the paper on their commute?

I'm trying to point fingers elsewhere because I'm a safe driver and Boog probably uses his phone on the road anyway. =P

hcother 12 years, 9 months ago

I would like to suggest that they also ban children under the age of 12 from all vehicles. They can be rather distracting as well. Especially when they are talking a lot. Come to think of it, how is talking on a cellphone different than talking to the person sitting next to you?

avhjmlk 12 years, 9 months ago

Nope. Good try, but no.

Man, you gotta brush up on your pop culture.

Any more takers? (The quote was "D*mn the Man! Save the Empire!") The quote itself is a dead giveaway.

blessed3x 12 years, 9 months ago

The single biggest danger I see in my 30 minute commute every day is people who have pulled over onto the shoulder to take a call trying to get back on the busy interstate. These people are by far a bigger danger in my opinion. If my phone rings and I think I need to take the call, I don't pull off the road but rather to the right lane and back it down to the speed limit (few of us actually travel that slow anyway). This way I'm still in the flow but not becoming a left lane vigilante by driving too slow in the left lane.

avhjmlk 12 years, 9 months ago

Actually, nothing to do with galactical empires, or the solar system, or outer space at all. Come on, guys, get your brains in gear!

Another clue: Anthony LaPaglia, who is currently starring in "Without a Trace" on your local CBS channel.

avhjmlk 12 years, 9 months ago

GEB!!! You're the winner!

Sheesh! The rest of y'all are slackers!

avhjmlk 12 years, 9 months ago

Another quote:

"Unguen...Need unguen."

smartypants 12 years, 9 months ago

I think that there should be law against picking you nose while driving. It is distracting to other drivers because you can't help but stare at the driver doing the picking. It's like a bad accident. Besides, if you're picking your nose, then you are not driving with hands at 10 and 2 like any good driver should do.

avhjmlk 12 years, 9 months ago

Oh, and that second quote is NOT from Empire Records. Completely different movie altogether.

lunacydetector 12 years, 9 months ago

dotteboy, i guess you (liberal) want me banned because you don't like what i say (banfreedomofspeechperson). want me to lose more of my freedoms...(fascistsoundinglittledemocrat).

avhjmlk 12 years, 9 months ago

Good Lord, GEB! You're on fire today.

Ok. Here's another. This one will stump you. And, no fair typing it into quote finders, or any other such nonsense...

"The King is dead. The King is dead. God save the King."

avhjmlk 12 years, 9 months ago

But, in all fairness, the next time I see you, I'll buy you lunch.

Ceallach 12 years, 9 months ago

Posted by GreenEyedBlues (anonymous) on September 22, 2005 at 12:39 p.m. (Suggest removal)

What about those Wal*Mart shoppers barreling down Iowa (with litters of six Kool-Aid mustachioed in tow) reaching in the back to try and beat at least three of them?

GEB: I'm not sure if they are all going to Wally World :) but those are the parents I was talking about. Shouting and swinging at the backseat. Talk about a driving distraction!!

Ceallach 12 years, 9 months ago

omb: How goes it in Houston? Sounds pretty scary! My family has decided to evacuate from the valley now, erring on the side of caution. (That plus my sister has to wrestle mom -- and her three cats -- inland to a place that is safe, without being desolate -- no small feat in south texas!) I'm just glad they are going.

Stay safe now, we very selfishly need your well timed comedy on this board:)

avhjmlk 12 years, 9 months ago

Y'all have just fizzled out.

Ok, the quote comes from "Dances with Wolves." It's from the part where the army guy who is sending Kevin Costner to the "frontier" pisses himself and commits suicide.

hawkrew 12 years, 9 months ago

Man, I wish there was one thing in the world everyone would agree on...

...but then there would be no point to these wonderful message boards.

Don't ban. Fine people for accidents while on the phone is fine with me. But then you have to prove it, which could be difficult is some cases. I've seen just as many accidents (or near accidents) by people not on the phone as I have with people talking on the phone. I think the problem is there are too many bad drivers out there.

beatrice 12 years, 9 months ago

To everyone out there screaming that there are too many bans and that to be in favor of this or that ban you must be a wacko liberal, will you also be against the banning of gay marriages? How about you lunacy, you seem to think that bans are against freedom? Or is that one of the bans that you like, since it isn't about public safety, but is a true ban against personal freedoms and personal choice?

Just wanted to toss a (safety)monkey wrench into the mix.

A favorite movie quote: "Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!" from Dr. Strangelove

Redneckgal 12 years, 9 months ago

one more be careful down there and we'll all be thinking about you for sure!

Ceallach 12 years, 9 months ago

omb: thanks for the update, it must really be chaotic! There is that guilt factor, isn't there? Please let it move east, please let it move west, just please don't let it hit me. Oh, yeah, there are also people to the east and west!

Gotta go to a mtg :(:(:(

avhjmlk 12 years, 9 months ago

omb--You ought to throw in some oatmeal cream pies for good measure.

hawkrew 12 years, 9 months ago

Stupid hurricanes...what was today's question??

jumpman 12 years, 9 months ago

Well..that depends on what is meant by "use" First of all, if we would really admit It, most of that time talking while were driving (an' doing some other things as well) is just what we all know It is- bla,bla,f#*$ing bla! should we have a cell phone in the car with us? should It be on?. Ok 1st, If you broke down, I'm sure you'd like to have a cell phone, an' 2nd, If a loved one got hurt, or some other EMERGENCY came up, then the phone could be a life saver. But studies have shown over and over that ANY distraction including UNNECESSARY cell phone conversations (hands free or not) affect your ability to drive with full concentration, thereby compromising the safety of themselves and other drivers as well. These "chet-chaters" are often (but not always) the same kind of people (self cen-turd me 1st types) that hurt (or kill) others by drinking 6 or 7 drinks, hop in there cars, thinking "oh, I'm fineee to driveee" OK, maybe It's not AS bad as someone who's D.U.I but do we NEED to take that chance? is talking about that party/meeting ect, that important? Just ask someone who thought they "just couldn't wait!" to get home on the land line to talk, an said "hay I'm safe, i know what I'm doing!"(with a hands free setup) who can't walk anymore an' hopefully you'll know. - Steve Cobb

Confrontation 12 years, 9 months ago

spacystaci8: Of course you would be against a cell phone ban, since your hubby works at a body shop. That seems pretty obvious.

avhjmlk 12 years, 9 months ago

Another quote:

"Oh look, Fred. She's got her b**bies!"

hawkrew 12 years, 9 months ago

I want to know the answer to the quote...

...LOOK, I CAN TALK IN ALL CAPITALS TOO! (does it look like I am yelling?)

KsjKC 12 years, 9 months ago

This is a really good solid debate with well thought out arguments as well as emotionally charged and impassioned pleas...I've been enjoying it off and on since my first post before 6am...

So--my question is : Has some yahoo said "drink the Kool-Aid" yet?

I do have a suggestion for a new motto for Lawrence:

"Lawrence: It's Ban-tastic..."

hawkrew 12 years, 9 months ago

Sorry, I should have addressed that to avhjmlk as an answer to the quote question. My apologies everyone...

BunE 12 years, 9 months ago

Tickets for driving with a cell phone and no hands free. Report them to the insurance clearing house after 2 tickets, rates go up, encouraging safer practices and voila. fewer soccormoms in minivans swerving as they talk and reach for their starbucks.

Liberty 12 years, 9 months ago

Yes, they need another unenforceable law and another expansion of power in which they have no authority.

avhjmlk 12 years, 9 months ago

hawkrew--well done. I'm very proud.

Let's see if I can come up with another one...

avhjmlk 12 years, 9 months ago

Ok, here it is:

"You know, I have a reputation for being a b*tch."

KsjKC 12 years, 9 months ago


Doesn't Martha Stewart have that incscription on her business cards?

hawkrew 12 years, 9 months ago

KsjKC...I think that's Hillary Clinton

Staci Dark Simpson 12 years, 9 months ago

Confrontation- I was just talking to my husband and he can't remember too many wrecks being caused by cell phone talkers. He did say that business usually booms when the students are around.
No I don't want cell phones banned because I use mine all the time. Maybe more accidents are caused by cell phones because more people have them! Duh! Do the math.
Hang in there Bob! I think sitting in that traffic would be more hazardous to my health. Hey I bet they are on their cell phones!!

avhjmlk 12 years, 9 months ago

Hawkrew, you have come through again! Please promise me you're not using one of those quote-identifying services...

hawkrew 12 years, 9 months ago

I can absolutely, positively, 100% without a doubt say that I didn't cheat on the first quote...I know I suck but I just wanted to be cool...

avhjmlk 12 years, 9 months ago

Norwood...Good grief, I have no idea.

avhjmlk 12 years, 9 months ago

All I can think of is Elwood from "The Blues Brothers," but obviously that is not the same thing.

conservative 12 years, 9 months ago

The Original Bob

Is the answer Fall Short? I don't remember that exact quote but I do remember that the main character is named Ted Norwood.

Ceallach 12 years, 9 months ago

Anyone remembers this quote?

"Sometimes being a bit*h is all a woman has left!"

sunflower_sue 12 years, 9 months ago

Cea, "Dolores Claiborne"?

My favorite: "A man would have to be a sprinter to catch his wife in a bed like that!"

From the same movie: "Here's a nice stick to beat the lovely lady."

Ceallach 12 years, 9 months ago

That's right, sun_sue! And sometimes it is sad, but true :)

TOB: I had forgotten about O.J.'s Naked Gun movie. Seems his acting improved before the trial :)

sue: would that be The Quiet Man?

Ceallach 12 years, 9 months ago

omb: Sounds like you may have been giving that running naked thing a little too much thought :-P

Have a good night all, gotta go so I can hit the salt mine at 8 am!

conservative 12 years, 9 months ago

The Original Bob.

Not to be too picky but OJ Simpson's character in "The Naked Gun" was Nordberg not Norwood.

I doubt I would have gotten it anyway. I haven't watched any of the Naked Gun movies since OJ went on trial. I think it would be a little weird to watch him doing comedy after all that has happened.

sunflower_sue 12 years, 9 months ago

Cea, ding, ding, ding! "The Quiet Man' it is!

OMB, You be careful now. We don't want to get up tomorrow morning and read a story about some guy who was streaking through Houston Medical Center and slipped on some wayward gauze and put a big crack in his arse.:0)

jonas 12 years, 9 months ago

Wonder if anyone but Ubermime has a chance of getting this one. . . .

"You do not think we are. . . indians? Look at all these teepees that we have. Lots of teepees, because we are. . . indians!"

italianprincess 12 years, 9 months ago

All of you are so silly...........LOL

Sweet dreams and sleep well.

jayhawks71 12 years, 9 months ago

  1. Research provides solid evidence that hands-free devices cause the same impairment as handheld devices. As a side effect, a number of studies "collapse" their data across "phone type" for this very reason. USING YOUR HANDS FREE IS NOT BETTER. I see unknowledgeable statements suggesting hands-free or claiming that they use hands-free.

2.At least two studies (one by Rakauskas, one by Strayer) find that using a cell phone while driving impairs driving to the same level (and usually worse than) being intoxicated at .08 BAC.

  1. One explanation given (repeatedly) in the research for the difference between driver-passenger vs. cell phone conversations is that the conversation can be modulated when both participants are in the same context (the vehicle). In a nutshell this means that the passenger will shut up when they see that the situation is attention demanding.

  2. The issue is, as has been stated, cognitive in nature according to the research. Specifically, attentional in nature. Attention is drawn from driving to the conversation on the cell phone. The same drawing of attention is NOT found for people listening to the radio, books on tape or talking to a passenger.

  3. One study does find that the conversation can ALSO be impaired. However, I believe that study shows deficits in both driving and conversation on the phone.

  4. There are a number of variables that have been looked at regarding impaired driving. Among the variables are: following distance, braking reaction time, missed traffic lights, impaired memory for objects (no difference between "driving relevant" and "driving irrelevant" items), driving speed (aka driving under the speed limit/slower than the flow of traffic), accelerating back up to speed more slowly.

  5. Consider the following. Most people on cell phones are truly unaware of their driving ability while they are on the phone. The research shows that driving and talking on the cell phone needs more attention than we have to allocate to both tasks, and therefore one or both suffer. If you don't have enough attention to allocate to those tasks, how could you possibly have enough attention to allocate to an assessment of your driving!!!!! This is for those that say that they "drive just fine!"

  6. Some of the researchers studying the topic: David Strayer, Mick Rakauskus, Nic Ward, Leo Gugerty. My suggestion would be to go to and search for any of their last names along with "cell" and "driving" in the search.

jayhawks71 12 years, 9 months ago

Ubermine, not only would it be dangerous for police to "drive around looking into peoples cars" (which they wouldn't have to do, one can watch people drive by and see them on cells.... BUT... if a ban is enacted, POLICE SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED TO DRIVE USING CELL PHONES EITHER!

jayhawks71 12 years, 9 months ago

Hey blessed, figures you'd move into the right lane and "slow down", demonstrates your awareness that you don't have enough attention to allocate to driving in your usual fashion. Some of the research says that people on cell phones drive too slow!!!! YOU ARE A HAZARD!

b_asinbeer 12 years, 9 months ago

Wow, 160+ responses....I would call that a busy day at the office, wouldn't you?

redneck 12 years, 8 months ago

That's the ticket, forget about people smoking pot and nail them dang cell phone abusers!!! Them cell phone abusers are going to be the downfall of society!!! LOL I know, lets outlaw STUPIDITY!!!

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