When Pete Townsend sang about Going Mobile, chances are that he wasnt referring to the Motorola Razr. This week, going mobile with a mobile became more restrictive, when legislation limiting the use of cellular phones by drivers went into effect.
The law prohibits drivers from talking on cell phones without hands-free devices. Fines range from $25 to $100. Drivers charged with three or more infractions within three years could lose their licenses for up to a year.
Senator at Large Craig Barshinger, who co-sponsored the bill introduced by Sen. Roosevelt David and Senate President Lorraine Berry, said, We are trying to help people with this very new phenomenon of cell phone use.
A lot of us are used to talking on cell phones while driving, Barshinger said. But no one drives as well with their attention focused on a phone conversation, and I also realized the need (for the bill) for myself to focus on driving.
If the reported retail sales of hands-free devices in the territory are any indication, many people on the islands agree, at least in following the letter of the law. Some didnt need legislative prompting.
When I bought my cell phone I bought an earpiece, remarked St. John resident David Sandberg. But Ive never used the earpiece, because I always pull over when I get a call.
He explained that he finds fielding calls while driving too distracting even with a hands-free setup.
Kim McCoy, another St. John resident, also pulls over for phone calls. She said that she may eventually purchase a hands-free set, but that the additional cost is making her wait awhile.
For the cost-conscious, Barshinger proposes earbuds, which are what hes using.
Theyre the cheapest, at around $20.
Barshinger recommends, however, that earbud users take the extra step of buying very sturdy cords, because the thin ones that usually come with them wear out easily.