Tuesday, June 24th, 2008 at 12:45 pm in Misc. Transportation.
So, the other day my mobile phone ear bud with in-line mic finally fell apart for the last time. I tried popping its perforated plastic cap back on, but apparently the wires were crossed or something and people can’t hear me when I talk.
Or so they tell me.
So today, in preparation for the long-awaited July 1 activation of State Sen. Joe Simitian’s hands-free mobile phone law, I practiced talking on the phone while scanning the freeway for CHiPs.
Mind you, I can make this public confession because it’s still June 24, albeit 21 months since Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the hands-free bill. I could talk on the phone legally today, but in one week, I’d be facing a $20 fine for the first offense.
Now, I try not to be a scofflaw, especially when it comes to laws that make sense. But $20, as many of you have already noted, is more than I pay for gas in a day.
Luckily, I have experience with such laws, having driven for three years in Israel. I never learned what the fines for disobeying the hands-free law there were, although I noticed that cab drivers often had their little ear-bud wires hanging from their mirrors.
I had one, too, but the combination of my cheap, pay-as-you-go phone and the unamplified earphone meant that any rough road surface was enough to make it impossible to understand the party on the other end of the line.
I don’t know what the statute of limitations is on such things, so I’ll only say that once an Israeli police cruiser pulled alongside of me on Highway 1, pointed to his ear and motioned me to the shoulder.
He pulled over about 20 yards ahead of me, presumably to avoid the blast in case I was more than just a pelephone perp. I waited for about 5 minutes. Then, without even getting out of his car, he turned on his flashing lights and roared off.
In that way Israel is like Oakland. The police have better things to do than fuss over your lack of an ear bud.