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AAA: Florida Cities Can't Ban Cell Use In Cars

Is Texting OK While Driving?

How About Watching TV?

Sometime in the distant past, say 1990, no one really thought about which electronic gadgets to use while driving. The radio, maybe a cigarette lighter, were just about it.

The past always appears simpler. Today, state legislatures are confronting just what rules are reasonable to keep multi-tasking drivers from killing each other.

Patricia Brown was sitting at a red light on Apopka-Vineland Rd. when a speeding pick-up truck slammed into her Honda, killing her instantly.

Her daughter, Jeanne Hyler, asks, "How am I supposed to move forward? I'm searching every day for the answer to that."

"In a split second she was taken from us," she said. "For senseless reasons. Completely illogical, senseless reasons."

Troopers say the 16-year-old driver admitted he'd been reaching for a cell phone when he lost control.

"I'm actually appalled that the state of Florida is so behind the times," said Hyler.

Not only does Florida have no laws against phone use while driving, it's also one of just ten states that prevent individual cities from enacting their own laws.

Hyler is making it her mission to change that. But she has some unlikely opposition. The American Automobile Association.
This is the very issue that led Car Talk's Click and Clack to question AAA's commitment to the public interest just as Better World Club was getting started.

"Is it a cell phone?" AAA spokesman Stuart Hodges asked an Orlando TV reporter. "Is it a blink of an eye? Is it a dropped cigarette ash? Is it a dropped french fry?"AAA 's position is that the problem is distractions in general. Hodges says it's impossible to legislate against every distraction."What about if you're eating a sandwich in the car?" he asked. "What about if you're putting make-up on?"

Gee, what if you're working on your expense reports? The California Highway Patrol says a deadly head-on crash north of Sacramento was likely caused by a man at the wheel working on his laptop computer.

What's next? Honey, can you watch the road for me and hand me the remote while I channel surf?

Or how about using your telephone not to talk, but to text message. Oops, that's already happening. Teenagers apparently think that the cars will drive themselves. (Ask your teenager about this and email their response back to us here.

Jeanne Hyler has an answer. "All I can say is my mother wasn't killed by someone applying lipstick. My mother was killed by someone reaching for a cell phone." She really wants people to ignore the phone altogether in the car… so they don't ignore the road. First, she wants to require hands-free units in the car.

Amen.