I’m sitting quietly listening to a professor lecture, and a little tune starts playing across the room. It’s another student’s cell phone.
A man in a brand new full-size pickup pulls into the espresso drive-through. He looks through his rolled-up window at me, and holds up one finger as if to say, “just a minute.” He’s talking on his cell phone.
A woman in a Subaru pulls into our parking lot, swerving right, then left, then parks sideways, blocking traffic from coming in or out of the lot. She too, is on her phone, and apparently doesn’t know where she is. After several minutes of sitting there sideways, she pulls off to a safer place to resume her conversation.
I’m in class again, and a while a man is gibing an hour-long presentation, his cell phone rings twice, and he answers it both times. “Excuse me, guys,” he says.
It is becoming apparent that not only are people abusing their cell phones, but they are infringing on the comforts and rights of others by doing so.
Ten years ago, there weren’t very many people who owned cell phones. They were big, awkward, and were used only in emergencies. Today. They’re everywhere. You can’t get away from them. Teenagers strut through the malls with their Nokias glued to their ears. Soccer Moms cruise the streets of Spokane in their big Suburbans, and yes, they’re on the phone.
Brooklyn, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland, passed the first ordinance in the country banning cell phone use while driving. This law passed last September, and since then, a Philadelphia suburb called Hilltown enacted a similar ordinance. Now, at least 15 states have proposed and then thrown out these types of measures. According to Matt Sundeen, a political analyst, this could be because of a “political clout of cell phone users.” He also said that just about every politician owns and uses a cell phone.
Almost everyone has these annoying disturbances.
Fran Bents testified on March 7, 2000 before the Senate Transportation Committee in Pennsylvania that there were 88 mi8lllion cell phone users in this country alone. She also said that there were 40,000 new subscribers every day, which exceeds the birth rate. Bents is the co-author of the Department of Transportation’s 1997 report entitled “An Investigation of Wireless Communications in Vehicles.”
The majority of people today use cell phones, and those who have them probably think they couldn’t live without them.
People need to be more aware of what they’re doing, and realize that especially when driving, it is important to pay attention.
“I watched my daughter die,” says Patricia Pena, the mother of two-year-old Morgan Lee, who was killed in her car seat when the car in which she was riding was struck by a motorist using a cell phone. “And I’d like to prevent others from going through it,” she says. “People need to know that manufacturers warn against use of cell phones when cars are in motion.”
Pena said that she and her husband both continue to use cell phones.