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From The Back Nine

The Georgia General Assembly has made it illegal for drivers to check e-mail, log onto the internet or to text. They also made it illegal for teens to use the cell phone period.

The idea of making it illegal to text while driving is a no brainer and it is a step in the right direction but it doesn't take it far enough.

They should make it illegal to use the phone at all for all drivers and not just teens. It's unenforceable as I see it unless there is an accident involved and the phone records are reviewed and by then it's too late.

Whenever I see someone run a red light, sit still when the light turns green, go 10-15 MPH below the speed limit there is usually one common denominator: they are talking on the phone.

I remember when having a 'bag phone' was a status symbol. When my son was playing recreation  league ball while living in Kentucky, one prominate lady in town just had to bring her phone to the field and she would always get a call and talk loudly throughout the game. She always had to be called back a couple of times and some of the other parents would take bets on what inning the first call would come in.

My first car phone, and I still refer to them as such, was mounted and I had hands free access with  the little antennae on the back window. I thought I had arrived but it became very clear early on I would not like being reachable 24-7.

Usually this means my wife asking me to stop by the store on the way home. This is not why I bought the thing and I quickly learned to use the on and off button more often so I could control when I could be reached.

But those big bag phones have been reduced to nothing more than an oversized credit card. And somewhere along the way we have forgotten common courtesy.

We are  starting to see more signs in businesses asking customers to refrain from cell phone use. Are people respecting this request? Apparently not. When I was at the tax assessor's office several weeks back I pointed a sign like this to my wife and said I wish more places had these signs up because it was just plain rude.

My wife promptly pinched the back of my arm and cut her eyes at me. Apparently the lady next to me was on the phone and there is a pretty good chance she overheard me. I hope she did anyway.

But dealing with this type of behavior does not put me or any member of my family in danger as it does when they get behind the wheel of a car. Maybe next year they'll put some teeth into this new law.  

Web posted on Thursday, May 06, 2010

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