I imagine Shane Davis ("Control killer cell phones," Sunday, July 15) wouldn't feel quite so sarcastic about the use of hand-held cell phones in cars if two members of his family had been killed because a driver was preoccupied with searching for a ringing phone somewhere on the other side of the car, missing a red light by about 20 seconds.
It does make you stop and think.
There are three main problems with hand-held phones:
1. You can't see your blind spot very well with your arm held up to the side of your head, nor can you turn in that direction very easily to see the crazy driver weaving in and out of your lane at 90 miles an hour.
2. Say your phone is in your purse or backpack, you forget to take it out before driving, it rings and you feel compelled to answer it. If you have to reach to the other seat, the floor or back seat and rummage around to find it, you aren't driving very defensively, are you?
3. The buttons are tiny, and trying to operate them and keep your eyes on the road at the same time are not very compatible activities, are they?
We would like to find the middle ground on this issue. As they are now, hand-held phones are distracting to safe driving. Certainly the technology exists to create voice-activated, stationary units that would allow us to quickly receive and acknowledge messages, to be returned a short time later after the car has come to a stop. In emergencies, the phone could remain open. Then you can still have your hand-held phone (occupying the same number as your car phone) to use wherever else you are. Our accident was caused by having to search for the phone, and that says a lot about the need for reasonable, stationary, hands-free units.
We believe the recent New York law banning hand-held phones only while driving is correct for now because of the problems involved in operating them in cars. It's really a no-brainer, and if for no other reason, pressure of this sort will spur cell phone companies and car makers to come up with something safer to use.
Salt Lake City