Earlier this month, California’s hands-free law went into effect. Drivers in the Golden State must now use Bluetooth headsets or similar devices to ensure their hands are available for driving. This measure, they’re being told, will save 300 lives per year. Most notably, the law’s backers say, it will protect teen drivers since they’ll be prohibited from talking on the phone at all while driving, even if they use a hands-free headset.
Except, of course, like all Nanny State legislation, this one also falls short of the mark. The law, for instance, does not prevent those teens from talking to their passengers and, really, how many teens drive around alone? It does not stop them from wearing Emo hair blocking at least half of their vision. Or from performing that ridiculous head bop that signifies they’re listening to music and which, really, is no different from the Night at the Roxbury head bop their parents perform except that it moves front-to-back and is, inevitably, accompanied by hip-hop music.
Nor does the law make it illegal to send, read or type text messages while driving. It does not even stop iPhone users from tapping away as they surf the net. Toyota Corolla owners can still use the touch-guided DVD navigation system to flip through their favorite songs. GPS addicts can stare at their screens as they navigate turn-by-turn, arguing with the dang thing whenever the system’s directions are blatantly wrong.
But, hey, you’ll be safe from all those folks who gab incessantly over their cell phones now that they’ll be using Bluetooth accessories to ensure their hands are free to drive. Right?