We don't "recommend" against cell-phone use while driving, we think it should be banned outright.
I recently read a letter in your column concerning a gentleman who was looking for a wireless phone to use while in his car. In your response, you said that wirelessphones are unsafe for use in automobiles. I would like to bring to your attention activities the wireless industry undertakes to help make consumers aware of their responsibility to drive safely when using a wireless telephone.
"Safety -- Your Most Important Call" seeks to educate the public on the importance of putting safety first and to inform subscribers of ways to use wireless telephones
responsibly. Through a series of easy-to-remember safety tips, the wireless industry reminds drivers to maintain their focus on the road, especially while using a wireless
phone. Since 1997, wireless companies have sent customers tens of millions of pieces of literature on the responsible uses of wireless phones.
Additionally, the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA) maintains a toll-free number, (888) 901-SAFE, where callers can obtain a free brochure
containing safety tips and providing information on hands-free options for wireless phones. -- Peggy England, CTIA
TOM: Well, there you go, folks. Call from your car phone and get your free brochure!
RAY: Great. Now we're going to have to write a column reminding people not to READ and drive.
TOM: Actually, Peggy, we think the best safety tip is to NOT USE your cellular phone while driving a car. And we didn't "recommend against it." We said it was
"immoral, unethical and downright stupid" to try to operate a phone while you should be operating a 3,000-pound steel projectile moving at 60 mph.
RAY: Our question is, is the CTIA really concerned about safety? Or is this campaign like the liquor industry ads that say, "Know When to Say When" (but drink
yourself into a stupor first, because we need to sell a boatload of liquor)?
TOM: If you guys are really concerned about the people getting hurt and killed on the roads when they're distracted with cell phones up to their ears, how about joining
with us and calling for a ban on the use of hand-held phones while driving a car? That would show us that you're not merely putting on a public relations effort, but that
you're truly interested in people's safety. Let us know.
How can you tell if a used car is in good condition -- or even OK, for that matter? Find out by ordering Tom and Ray?-s pamphlet "How to Buy a Great Used Car: Things
That Detroit and Tokyo Don?-t Want You to Know." Send $3 and a stamped (55 cents), self-addressed, No. 10 envelope to Used Car, PO Box 6420, Riverton, NJ 08077-
?(C) 1999 by Tom and Ray Magliozzi and Doug Berman