Michael Trujillo, former vice chairman of Santa Fe's Public Safety Committee, is having second thoughts about the city's ban on the use of hand-held cell phones while driving. "In the beginning I pushed it pretty hard," he tells The New York Times. "But then I realized, 'God, how stupid is this law?'"
Not only is the ban–similar to rules in New York, New Jersey, and D.C.–hard to enforce, but it may actually contribute to driver distraction by creating the impression that hands-free phones are safe to use. Research indicates that it's focusing on the conversation, as opposed to holding the phone, that's the problem. And cell phone bans leave untouched myriad activities that can distract drivers and make accidents more likely, including use of various other electronic devices.
"Driver distraction has been an issue since the car has been around," notes a transportation policy analyst with the National Conference of State Legislatures. "But now you have all these different technologies where legislators can't possibly write legislation for specific technologies. It's impossible to keep pace." Legislators probably will try anyway.