For the past few weeks I've been considering writing a post about how California's law against driving while holding a cell phone has done pretty much nothing to curb the habit - at least in the Oakland/Berkeley area where I live and work. Yesterday on my bike ride home from the office I figured out why I hadn't penned the post yet. The law has done something, I think. Sure, I still see at least three drivers with cellies in hand every day (one almost hit me in a parking lot yesterday, in fact) ... but I'm also seeing a higher occurrence of another phenomenon that I think is related: Drivers with white earbuds in both ears while they're behind the wheel.
Now I can't be one hundred percent sure that these drivers are using iPhones and not iPods (or even iPod earbuds with some other device), but it really doesn't matter. Driving with earbuds in both ears is dumb. Don't do it. Seriously, think about it: You're driving a car. You need to hear the sounds of buses honking at you when you veer into their lane and are about to cause a head-on crash. ONE EARBUD IS PLENTY! If you're on a phone call, you can hear fine with one earbud. If you're listening to music or a podcast, either make do with one earbud, wait until you're out of the car, or buy an audio cable or FM transmitter so you can listen over your car stereo.
Believe you me, I'm a communication and media junkie as much as the next driver is. I want my phone calls, podcasts, and illegally downloaded unreleased mp3s at the ready whenever I please, whether it's in the car or not. But putting other people in danger so I can listen to The Dan Patrick Show in stereo over my earbuds is not okay. So before I get behind the wheel next time I'll take at least one of those earbuds out. Heck, I'll take 'em both out.
Please make sure you do the same. Thanks.