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Get off the Phone and Watch the Road!

Today I thought I'd find out how many people feel the way that I do about cab drivers and cell phones. First though, as always, a little background.

Wisconsin does not have a law banning drivers from talking on the phone while driving. However, many people will not use the phone while driving because they feel that they're not able to give their full attention to the road and therefore will pull over to make or answer a call, or just not answer the phone at all. I have noticed a very high percentage of cab drivers here in Milwaukee though who spend every possible second on their phones. Almost 5 years ago I was left off a block or so away from my home because the driver was on his phone and wasn't paying attention to street signs. He drove off before I had a chance to find out where I was, and I was completely unaware of where I was in a fairly poor neighborhood after dark. I was fortunate though that someone happened to come by right then with her son. She told me where I was and offered to walk with me back home so I wouldn't be walking alone. I was really bothered by this situation, and since that time I've been extremely uncomfortable when drivers are on their phones while I'm in their cabs. I have friends who talk on their phones too, but I don't have a problem with that because I know them, and know that they're safe drivers. I know nothing about these cab drivers. Then, we'll add in the fact that many times I have had to give personal information to the driver before we start moving. It's not so bad now since they changed the transit ID numbers to something other than our social security numbers, but for several years I had to give my SS number, which could have been heard by anyone on the phone. Finally, we have many drivers who don't speak English as their first language, and their conversations happen in their native language. At times, from the tone of the driver's voice, and from some familiar words I can make out, it sounds like the driver is either complaining about having to drive a blind passenger, or else talking about where they're going, so on and so forth. I feel that I have just as much right to ride in the cabs as anyone else, and that I have the right to get from point A to point B safely. And now, it's time to let me know what you think.



Poll #1033003 Cell Phones and Taxi Drivers

Do you feel that a taxi driver should be on the phone carrying on a conversation while transporting you from one place to another?

Yes. It's a free country, isn't it?
0(0.0%)
It all depends on the situation.
5(41.7%)
I really don't care one way or another.
0(0.0%)
Absolutely not. When I step into that cab I'm paying them to pay atention and keep me safe.
7(58.3%)

If a passenger is feeling uncomfortable because of the way a driver is driving while talking on the phone, do you think the passenger has the right to request that the driver end the conversation?

Absolutely. It's my life we're talking about here and I want to be safe.
9(75.0%)
I don't really know.
2(16.7%)
I think it would depend on the driver.
1(8.3%)
No, it's not my car, I'm not driving, so I don't have the right to complain.
0(0.0%)

If you did ask the driver to get off the phone and he/she refused, what would you do?

Let the driver take me to my destination and then refuse to pay.
0(0.0%)
Tell the driver to stop the cab so that you can get out.
1(8.3%)
Get the cab number and call to request that this driver not transport you anymore.
10(83.3%)
Nothing. What good would it do?
1(8.3%)
Nothing. I already said that it was none of my business what the driver does in the cab.
0(0.0%)