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State's phoning while driving law gets no respect

      Which is the most-ignored law on the books: The 21-year-old drinking age for alcohol? The ban on gambling on sporting events?

   For my money, it's the ban on driving while talking on a cell phone, without a hands-free device, in New York State.

   It seems half the cars on the road have drivers holding a cell phone up to their ears, and that doesn't count the Bluetooths or the texting -- legal in this state -- that you'll see.

   (Am I one of the scofflaws? I can't claim to be as pure as the undriven snow, but hopefully no Michael Phelps-type photo will pop up in a British tabloid).

   The general flouting of the cell-phone ban isn't stopping the National Safety Council from calling for a wider, national ban on all phone use by drivers.

   This ban would go beyond the law in any state, and advocates say they realize the difficulty of getting it passed this year or in the near future.

   They hope to work state by state, perhaps starting with bans on cell-phone use by teen drivers or drivers of buses and other multi-passenger vehicles.

   Do you think a ban on cell-phone use by drivers is a good idea, even if it covers the use of hands-free devices too?

   Do you ever talk on a phone, or text, while driving? And do you think doing this affects your ability to concentrate on the road?

   -- Stephen T. Watson

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Traffic safety
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