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A plague on bad mobile phone manners

Ross O. Storey | March 1, 2011
Ross Storey Taxi drivers, movie theatre administrators and airlines take note!

Another of my top three bugbears is taxi drivers using mobile phones while they drive you around, potentially putting your life a risk. Too often this has meant drivers using one hand to steer while the other hold the phone. Others use hands free devices for their phones, but even these are suspected by researchers, to be more dangerous to the driver's attention to the traffic, likely putting passenger's lives at risk.

Of course, any taxi driver who talks on a mobile phone while my wife is in the vehicle always gets a stern rebuke, as they should. In most jurisdictions using a mobile phone while driving, at least without a hands free device, is illegal.

I swear, one day I saw the driver of a huge cement truck blithely chatting away on his mobile phone, using one hand to hold it, while the other negotiated his behemoth vehicle through the traffic. Idiocy!

And what about mobile phones on aeroplanes? Another source of annoyance is when, despite polite loudspeaker warnings, business people grab their phones and use them as soon as a plane has landed, or even before it has taken off. They obviously think their business requirements take priority over their fellow passenger's safety. Such people rely on most of their fellow travelers being too shy or embarrassed to do anything about it, and many hostesses and cabin attendants are also reluctant to tell them to stop.  I shudder to think what it will be like on long haul trips if airlines push ahead with plans to allow mobile phones to be used mid-flight.

Perhaps mobile phoning will go the way of smoking. Being a committed non-smoker I have little sympathy for those addicted to nicotine and most governments have banned smokers from restaurants, lifts and even public building foyers. Maybe the day will come when 'no mobile phone' signs will be displayed in just as many locations as 'no smoking' warnings.

There, I feel better now having vented my frustration. I believe mobile phone manners definitely need to be upgraded.

What do you think?

Ross O. Storey, currently the Managing Editor of Fairfax Business Media Asia, is responsible for the editorial content and production of MIS Asia, CIO Asia, Computerworld Singapore and Computerworld Malaysia magazines.  




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