November 30, 2001

Students React To New Law on Cell Phone Use

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A New York state law prohibiting the use of a cell phone while driving will be put into effect tomorrow.

Classifying cell phone communication as an interference to driving, state law officials hope that this new legislation will reduce a driver’s distractions and decrease vehicle-related casualties. According to the New York State Police, offenders of this new legislation will be subject to fines as high as $100, not including additional court fees.

While many students have both cell phones and cars, many students interviewed by The Sun appear to be generally receptive to the law, and agree with the motives behind it: the simultaneous use of a cell phone and navigation of a moving vehicle is a dangerous and potentially fatal combination.

“I think it’s a good idea,” Joanna Eng ’05 said. Identifying the physical distractions that a cell phone conversation creates for a driver, she added, “People shouldn’t be driving around while having conversations on cell phones, especially since they hold the cell phone in their hand,” she said.

Along with the physical interference afforded by cell phones, many students identify the equally dangerous mental distraction that they cause.

“I just have a feeling that using a phone while driving completely takes your mind off the road,” Jeff Ballins ’05 said.

Tom Klose ’02 agreed. “I’ve noticed [that] people who are using phones and driving at the same time tend to be less aware drivers,” he said.

Students supporting the law also indicated that they would act in accordance with it.

“I wouldn’t want to use [a cell phone] while driving anyways,” Eng said.

Other students, however, are opposed to the law’s implementation and consider the legislation a nuisance.

“I think it sucks,” Yu Ishinara ’05 said. But he adds, “There’s an easy solution: use an earpiece [instead of a cell phone].”

Christopher Wong ’05 added, “I think it is a decent idea but a waste of funds and time. We’ve got real problems in the world.”

Kate Wilkinson ’02 suggests simply pulling over to the side of the road if a phone call is necessary to avoid carelessness while in motion.

“If you think the call is going to be [that] important, find the next place to pull over and answer it. If it’s important enough to answer, it’s important enough to give your undivided attention to,” she said.

Ballins said, “I usually just pull over if I have to use [a cell phone] anyway, but that’s also the law of ‘The Mom.'”

Archived article by Ellen Miller