Drivers who misuse cell phones have many readers in a dither
By Gary Richards Mercury News Staff Columnist
Q I think we need a day dedicated to cell phone blunders. Maybe
it will become an educational issue.
A Oh, yeah. Here we go, with truly amazing stories.
Q My candidate was the guy in a BMW in a left-turn lane on
Almaden Expressway. While talking on his phone he pulls a U-turn, against
the red light, under the sign saying no U-turn, in front of oncoming traffic
at 45-plus mph.
A We can do better than that . . .
Q I'm a light-rail driver and missed a man by 18 inches coming into
the Campbell station. He was on a cell phone, walking around the
crossing arms which were down with lights flashing. I sounded the
horn, he turned and put up his hand as if he was going to stop a
50-ton light-rail train doing 45 mph. The bad news: This is not an
A Truly, amazing.
Q I was on Brokaw Road when suddenly I had to brake because
there was a car stopped in front of me with its hazard lights on. I was
cringing because I thought I might get rear-ended. Cars behind me stopped
suddenly or swerved into the next lane. Next thing I know, the lady with her
hazards on hangs up her cell phone and proceeds to drive to the left-turn
A She was truly a hazard.
Q I know you probably get 1,000 e-mails about this a day, but I
had to share this. I was crossing The Alameda at Newhall on foot when a
driver on his cell phone came within a foot of hitting me as he made a left.
Seconds later, a woman made a right turn and actually hit me (I wasn't
hurt). She was on her phone as well. Can you please, please, please tell
people not to talk on their cells while driving? Especially in residential
A Through you, I am trying.
Q My favorite: the person who would alternate between driving 60
mph and 75 mph in the fast lane on Interstate 280, depending on whether she
was speaking or listening.
A Roll on.
Q Driving on Highway 101 south of Tully Road, the freeway was
gridlocked. Some guy riding a motorcycle was splitting lanes and making cell
phone calls. He would take his right hand off the throttle, weave back and
forth as he dialed his phone. He then tucked the phone into his helmet,
grabbed the throttle and took off. I saw him do this twice in about 300
yards. At least he was wearing a helmet -- although I am not sure there was
much to protect.
A Now, smile for you may be on ``Candid Camera.'' And . . .
Q I was on Highway 17 when there was a car speeding along in the left
lane that kept shoving back into the right lane. Wait, what's that on
his head? Why, it's one of those newfangled video cell phones. But
it's not glued to his ear. He's got it braced against his head with
his hand as he's shooting clips of the Valley Surprise and gabbing at
the same time. All the while wobbling all over the road.
A Wobble fits.
Q Yikes! While driving on Highway 87 in the construction zone, a woman
driving behind me was talking on her cell that she held in her left
hand, smoking a cigarette she was holding in her right hand and
flicking ashes out the window. My guess she was steering with her
A And . . .
Q I don't think we need a law against driving while talking on a
phone. But we need something like the 1-800-EXHAUST line, to report
people driving badly. Maybe 1-800-YAKKING?
A The signal would be constantly busy.
Have a gripe, minor annoyance or major problem with transportation?
Contact Gary Richards at email@example.com or (408)
920-5335. The fax number is (408) 288-8060. Please leave a daytime
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