Over at Slate, William Saletan argues that cell phone use while driving is dangerous enough to warrant a ban. This is because the magnitude of distraction is comparable to an illegal level of intoxication, and because it arises from the mental effort involved in conversation, not the physical handling of a phone. As such, hands-free handsets do not address the problem.
As a cyclist who frequently rides in proximity to cars, it makes sense to me that driving and using a phone should be illegal. Drivers of cars are voluntarily undertaking an activity that poses a serious risk to the lives of others. As such, it is entirely proper to require them to conform to rules that reduce the probabilities of causing injuries and deaths. I am less sure about how the law could be effectively enforced. Technical measures are conceivable, but will always carry the risk of false positives and false negatives. Simply relying on police officers who spot offenders to issue tickets would not be very comprehensive. Can anyone think of a good way by which such a restriction could be enforced?