Thursday, June 24, 2004

Sir: Keep Your Hands Away from the Cellphone

Starting one week from today, it will be illegal to drive in the District of Columbia with one hand attached to a cell phone. You are supposed to use a "hands free device", though you will be allowed to touch the phone "to dial a call or to power the phone on or off." You can use a headset, or a speaker phone. The fine for otherwise touching the phone in the sight of a police officer is $100.

Speaker phones will most likely pick up the sound of the next driver over's boombox stereo system, so I'd rather have the headset. Let's see how that works:

Old way (phone to ear):

  1. Phone rings
  2. Pick up phone
  3. Open/answer phone
  4. Place phone to ear
  5. Talk, keeping eyes on road

New way (headset):

  1. Phone Rings
  2. Reach for headset
  3. Drop headset between driver and passenger's seats
  4. Fetch headset
  5. Attach to ear
  6. Realize wire from headset to phone is disconnected
  7. Locate phone
  8. Pick it up
  9. Reach for wire with other hand (small problem here)
  10. Attach wire to phone
  11. Reach down to pick up headset, which you've accidentally ripped off your ear while attaching the wire
  12. Look up to make sure you are still on the road
  13. Reattach headset to ear
  14. Caller hung up. Look up phone number on speed-dial
  15. Place call (oddly enough, this is legal)
  16. Talk

Oh yeah, that's much better.