Today I feel a little vindicated. Now let me be a little freer tomorrow, please -- but I know better than to hold my breath. According to this article, cellphone bans reduce the use of cellphones while driving but they make no difference to the accident rate. Well-intentioned law, disappointing results.
I was discussing this with a co-worker in a hallway this week and s/he implied that the wholesale ban on cellphone use is an unavoidable expansion of a wish to ban reading and writing text (SMS or e-mail) while driving. While these things weren't on your phone, a ban was unlikely. Now that they are (not to mention music, games, streaming and stored video, etc.), they can't just ban some hand-held activities, they've gotta ban them all.
Is the law really as coarse-grained as all that? I've often said that laws will always get something wrong because they're unavoidably using a large brush: you can't paint the Sistine Chapel with a tool made for a "lick of paint". But a grain this coarse? I wouldn't have believed it. If anyone knows about this, I'd appreciate hearing from a horse's mouth.
This co-worker went so far as to say that police (in BC) will not be ticketing people who are talking on phones, only those they see holding them and staring into them. I don't plan to tempt that differentiation (and I suggest nobody else do so, either) but I am intrigued. And I still say the law is unjust so long as there isn't some kind of exemption for people travelling at less than some threshold (I'd suggest 40km/h, but I could live with a lower figure) in a traffic line-up.