Noise, Vibration & Harshness: Hold The Phone

Tim Marrs

Like all of your better hypocrites, I nodded knowingly as the instructors told a coeducational room full of young folk with feeble beard stubble and excessive eye makeup how a car traveling 60 mph will go 88 feet in the second you've taken your eyes off the road. And to back it up, they showed a scary film. Can I say that the cautionary video genre has gotten better since the 1950s scare strips with the fake severed heads they showed us in drivers' education? Here, a state trooper choked up as he described coming upon a dead girl who'd hit a bridge abutment when responding to her sister's text, "Where R U?" A severely brain-injured young man explained how his life had been virtually ruined when his friend crashed while texting "Yeah." Another fellow killed a man on a bicycle while texting "LOL." He'll never forgive himself. When the film ended, Jacy Good -- a twenty-four-year-old who suffered traumatic brain injuries and lost her parents when a cell-phone user sailed through a red light, causing a tractor trailer to hit her family's car head-on -- spoke. With her lasting injuries, it was all she could do, she explained -- tell people the truth. Don't believe the industry: Hands-free phones are no better. If you're driving, drive.

Uniting all these tragic moments: the complete banality of the transmissions and the total worthlessness of the effort compared with the tragic consequences. And suddenly, I realized that this could be me. Like millions of my countrymen, I'd become convinced that I could safely operate a motor vehicle while communicating with the outside world -- thus fulfilling my duty as a good worker/consumer sheep -- and entertaining myself with an increasingly complex array of listening possibilities.

So right then and there I went cold turkey. No more calls, no more texts when driving. I'd become an addict. It's been a week now. And like a recovering alcoholic, I'm taking it one missed call and one unanswered text message at a time. Please call back.

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Well done,Jamie! Very smart and brave of you to stand up and say it. We all need to join you in saying it, repeatedly, to every single driver of any vehicle: Driving without paying FULL attention to the road is a seriously stupid practice that we have stupidly allow to persist. Call back, indeed. RBS, Toronto and Montreal.
THANKS JAMIE!!Concerned about teen driving? Check out the non-profit Street Survival ( It is designed to go beyond the typical new driver's ed program. The program teaches students to avoid accidents by learning situational awareness, thinking & looking ahead. We are unique in that it offers students instruction in their own cars so that they learn the limitations of their 'daily drivers', whether it's a new Accord or the hand-medown Volvo. The schools are run by the BMW Car Club of America, the Sports Car Club of America & other clubs.. We will do 100 schools this year. The schools are held in a large parking lot, they are 1 day, the cost is $75. The instructor to student ratio is 2:1. Check out our schedule at

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