Most polled here support cell phone-driving ban

Published 8:36 am Friday, June 27, 2003

By By BEN RAYMOND LODE / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- An initial effort to ban the use of hand-held cell phones while driving in the City of Niles failed recently.
However, the advocate of the ban -- Third Ward Councilmember Robert Chute -- has promised to revisit the issue.
The issue is still on the minds of Niles residents.
Several shoppers at Martin's Supermarket on South 11th Street on Thursday were asked their opinion on the proposed cell-phone-while-driving ban.
The overwhelming majority polled said they support the proposed city ordinance.
Andrew Spalding, a retired trucker from Niles, spent 33 years on the road hauling cargo from town to town.
He is convinced people shouldn't talk on a cell phone and drive at the same time.
Niles resident Linda Sadler didn't have much to say, but what she did say, she meant.
Sharon Syson, also from Niles, doesn't like to see people talk on their cell phone while driving.
Syson said she has had too many close calls with drivers who aren't paying attention.
Like many others who own cell phones, she takes measures to reduce the chances of getting involved in an accident.
Her opinion is shared by Shirley Thurston.
Her son, Chuck Thurston, compared a cell phone to people who have a TV on their dashboard.
Kristina Hora, also from Niles, said she knows a lot of people who talk on their cell phones while driving.
Larry Fox said people shouldn't talk on the cell phone and drive at the same time because things happen too fast in traffic.
Charles Burner, too, thinks cell phones and driving don't mix.
Andrew Shoptaw, 13, of Niles, said he is entirely against the use of cell phones while driving.
And, although a few years away from the legal driving age, Shoptaw thinks it's 'really stupid' for people to drive and talk on a cell phone at the same time.
Shawn Maness, 21, from Niles, however, said it doesn't bother him to talk on his cell phone while driving.
Having already had a few years of experience behind the wheel, he is against banning the use of cell phones while driving.
Maness, with a minority opinion, however, did say if using a cell phone while driving becomes a distraction for people, they shouldn't do it.
However, after an 18 month ban on the use of cell phones while driving in New York City, no data indicates a reduction in car accidents related to the use of cell phones.
According to news reports on Thursday, several studies also indicate using "hands-free" devices are just as likely to cause dangerous distractions.
In spite of this evidence, 42 states are considering banning the use of cell phones while driving.
And, California could become the next state to implement the ban.