We could recommend a flip phone that works in your Lexus...but we won't, and never will.

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Dec 01, 1998

Dear Tom and Ray:

I would like your help in finding a flip cellular phone to use in a 1995 Lexus
LS400. We need the handset only. To purchase it from the dealer would cost
around $750. Can you believe that? I wonder if you can help. -- Paul

RAY: We can help, but we won't, Paul. We're opposed to the use of cell phones in
cars for anything other than emergencies. We think it's immoral, unethical,
inconsiderate and downright stupid.

TOM: I would say that four out of five times that I see drivers do dumb things
on the road (cutting me off, drifting into my lane or pulling out of a driveway
without looking), they've got cellular phones up to their ears. It's obviously
too distracting for people to think, talk on the phone, and drive at the same
time, and it ought to be illegal.

RAY: Why is it more distracting than listening to the radio? Because it's
interactive. Someone is speaking to you, which requires you to listen, process
what's being said, and then respond. And having a conversation requires a
certain amount of brain power -- brain power that is then NOT being used to
operate a 3,000-pound moving vehicle.

TOM: And why is it more distracting than having a conversation with a passenger?
Well, for one thing, a passenger can see when you're trying to merge into
traffic, or back out of a driveway, and will usually understand if you stop
speaking and concentrate on the task at hand. The person on the other end of the
cell phone has no idea what's going on with you. Not to mention that you never
have to take your eyes off the road and "dial" the person in the passenger seat.

RAY: I know we're going to get tons of hate mail -- especially from the cell-
phone makers and service providers -- but that's our position. We think cell
phones in cars are unsafe. My favorite cell phone cartoon is of a guy who has
crashed head-on into another car. Both cars are smashed beyond belief. The guy
who caused the accident is speaking on his cell phone, and the caption is "I'll
have to call you back."

* * *

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