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Posted on Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 6:10 a.m.

Ban on using cell phones while driving in Ann Arbor gets initial approval from City Council

By Ryan J. Stanton

Getting caught talking - or texting - on your cell phone while driving in Ann Arbor could soon cost you $125.

After months of consideration, Ann Arbor officials are moving forward with efforts to implement a citywide ban on using cell phones and similar devices while driving.


City Council Member Stephen Rapundalo, D-2nd Ward, championed the idea of a cell phone ban at Tuesday's council meeting.

Ryan J. Stanton |

The much-debated issue resurfaced at Tuesday night's Ann Arbor City Council meeting when council members passed a first reading of a new city ordinance.

"This is a major public safety issue, and I think we've all experienced at one time or another while driving, seeing somebody else who wasn't paying attention because of their (cell phone)," said Council Member Stephen Rapundalo, D-2nd Ward. "So the time has come to do this."

Rapundalo is sponsoring the ordinance, which also prohibits using a cell phone or other device while riding a bicycle.

The ordinance bans motorists and bicyclists in Ann Arbor from using "any device" to do any of the following:

  • Talk to or listen to another person.
  • Create, send, transmit, read or listen to a text message, verbal message, oral message or electronic message.
  • Leave a recorded message.
  • Create, send, transmit, review, read a map or other image, whether or not the image or map includes or is accompanied by written or oral messages.
  • Use the Internet.

The ordinance bans any devices that can be used to perform any of the above functions, including but not limited to:

  • Any object commonly known as a mobile, wireless, cellular, cell, analog, or digital telephone or phone.
  • Any type of computer.
  • Any instrument used to obtain directions for a route to travel between two or more locations, or used to obtain other information related to locations along a route of travel, including but not limited to any equipment commonly known as a global positioning system or GPS.

According to the ordinance, the ban doesn't apply to the above mentioned devices if the person is using them hands-free or during an emergency situation.

Police officers, firefighters and operators of emergency vehicles also are exempt from the ban.

In addition, the ordinance allows a person to use a cell phone or other device if he or she is stopped in a "legal place to park, stop, or stand a motor vehicle or bicycle."

A person who violates the ordinance is responsible for a civil infraction with a fine of $125. The fine goes up to $300 in a motor vehicle accident for which the defendant is found at fault by police.

The ordinance, which goes to council for second reading next month, will take effect 10 days following its legal publication.

Rapundalo pointed out seven states now have bans on using cell phones while driving, and several local communities across the country have restrictions on cell phone use, including Detroit.

"Drivers who use cell phones while driving have a four time greater chance that they are going to get involved in an accident," Rapundalo said, adding cell phone use while driving contributes to 6 percent of all accidents.

"There are those who've said, 'What's the difference between the use of cell phones while driving and turning on the radio and messing with your rear view mirror and things like that?'" he said. "But there actually have been studies in this regard as well and it's kind of interesting that reaction times by cell phone users while driving deteriorated by 35 percent, and by comparison, there was only a 12 percent deterioration by those who had drunk alcohol to the legal limit."

Council Member Marcia Higgins, D-4th Ward, wondered how the city's cell phone ban would play out with pending state legislation.

Mayor John Hieftje cautioned council members to avoid relying on the state to solve the problem.

"If anyone had the idea of waiting for the state to do something on this, all we have to do is take a look at what happened with smoking," Hieftje said.

Ryan J. Stanton covers government for Reach him at or 734-623-2529.


Jaime Magiera

Wed, Feb 24, 2010 : 1:28 p.m.

I've been talking about this (overall) issue a lot on my radio show the past year. On the one hand, we've all been in a situation where there was obvious danger due to someone not paying attention. In that regard, the city council has valid concerns. The obvious problems with what the city council is trying to do have already been outlined by other commenters (emergency responders/hams/etc. not allowed to use their devices, school busses, etc.). Another point that doesn't seem to have been mentioned yet is that there are several published research documents which show that the issue is the mental focus, or lack thereof, associated with device use while driving. It's not necessarily about what your hands are doing. It's that your attention is split between the here-and-now of the driving environment and the virtual environment you're sharing with the person on the other end of the communication device. There is also a disadvantage in the fact that the person on the other end is not experiencing your driving environment. It's not the same thing as the extra pair of eyes/ears you might have when carrying on a conversation with someone in the vehicle with you. I think City Council needs to modify their approach on this issue.


Mon, Feb 22, 2010 : 9:46 a.m.

Does this mean Ford cars with the Microsoft Sync system would be banned in Ann Arbor because they can read text messages?


Sun, Feb 21, 2010 : 10:56 p.m.

As flawed as this seems to be conceptually, I am in complete support of anything that will curb this clearly dangerous behavior. This phenomenon has moved well beyond the anecdotal: there are many credible studies showing that cell phones and driving is a perilous combination AND all you need to do is drive around and witness countless examples on any given day of the recklessness that cell phones cause when mixed with operating a motor vehicle. (The extension of this reasoning to bicycle drivers seems like a stretch to me.) And what about smoking...doesn't this seriously impair safe driving as well? Let's take any opportunity we can to pile on and curb smokers rights whenever we can!!


Sat, Feb 20, 2010 : 4:38 p.m.

You should be able to talk on any electronic device in the privacy of your car so long your cell number is clearly posted on your car.

Jon Saalberg

Sat, Feb 20, 2010 : 12:11 p.m.

If drivers were actually trained the way I was, back when kids actually had a class in school, comprehensive class time, and many hours on the road, we might not have to worry so much about younger drivers' poor skills. Now add cell phones, texting, messing with iPods, messing with GPS systems, and you have greatly added to the pool of distracted, poorly skilled drivers. To any who claim that phone use and texting don't affect their driving alertness, I welcome your perusal of a recent test in Car & Driver, in which it was determined that using a phone and texting were more dangerous than driving drunk. Car & Driver article

Real Time

Fri, Feb 19, 2010 : 7:27 p.m.

All kinds of bad drivers, impatient drivers and control freaks have always had something to complain about - don't pander to them. 6% of all accidents is the ONLY issue. It's simple what is the cost of the time they spend on this issue, vs the other 94% of accident causing issues. What about the cost of government intervention vs the the inventions over time like the bluetooth. Aren't they moving fast enough or should we be spending our best efforts and money on following goody too shoe moves like the city of Detroit. I say spend more precious council on this matter and tell us how many of the 6% of accidents were using the bluetooth!!!! You are throwing out the baby with the bathwater!!!!!


Fri, Feb 19, 2010 : 7:16 p.m.

Charley Sullivan---smart, not legislation peg dash fab---another intelligent rant, thank you David McGinn---distracted driving is already against the law Realizing that population density requires more laws; I'd say education and proactive mandatory prevention classes should be funded by these duplicative, micro-managing laws. Good call people. Our city coucil should not be jumping on the media band wagon to be seen as "on top of the hot topics". Eating and driving, arguing and driving, shaving and driving, putting on make-up and driving, changing your shirt and driving, grabbing your pants and adjusting yourself while driving...where are these laws? Oh yea, here they are: Distracted driving Wreckless driving Not in control of your vehicle Absent minded behind the wheel driving Maybe the current council members are wasting the money we pay them...where are the level headed-real people? GET RID OF THIS COUNCIL ITEM--BOO!!!

A2 Native

Fri, Feb 19, 2010 : 2:46 p.m.

I dont think the city should be writing traffic laws like that. The State should decide and let us VOTE on it. The way I read it is they will allow "hands free" operation. And that is just as bad as holding the phone. The problem isnt that you are holding something, its that you are NOT PAYING ATTENTION! And the cops will pick and choose who they ticket for it. Maybe the the city plans to sell hands free headsets to make even more money off the sheep. The city of A2 needs to concentrate on spending less instead of looking for more ways to collect money. Look at the palace they are building at the city hall site right now. If that was really needed, it could have been built on the site of the old city dump for a fraction of what they are spending. It does not need to be a showpiece castle. Fed up.

David Miller

Fri, Feb 19, 2010 : 8:45 a.m.

This ordinance goes way too far. While I agree that texting while driving is more dangerous than drunk driving (even a drunk driver has his/her eyes on the road!), this ordinance seems to make it illegal to do things like change the station on the radio or adjust the temperature in the car. Or even look at speedometer (a real Catch-22 if you also get a speeding ticket!). Instead of using their brains, the City Council just spread a huge net to curtail behavior--to control people. In my mind, holding a cell phone and talking, texting, using a computer, doing one's hair, shaving, etc., while driving all constitute poor choices---albeit dangerous choices. But so is aggressive driving, tailgating, etc. Yet those seem to be "accepted" behaviors. A better law would be that, if you are in an accident, and that accident can be attributed to one of these behaviors, there should be severe consequences. But even then, people will do stupid things (texting while driving). You cannot legislate common sense. And besides, if people did not make stupid choices, there would be no Darwin Awards.

David McGinn

Thu, Feb 18, 2010 : 7:27 p.m.

Don't get me wrong, I think driving and using the cell phone is dangerous, but lets analyze this thing. It's wrong for me to drive and talk on my cell phone, but it's okay to for me drive and shave? It's okay for the lady next to me to drive and but on her make up? It's okay for businessman next to her to drive and read the Wall Street Journal? Let's call all of it what it really is and ban all of it, DISTRACTED DRIVING! To do anything less would be tantamount to outlawing murder with a hatchet, but not murder with a hand gun!


Thu, Feb 18, 2010 : 12:43 p.m.

I am for a uniform law on this throughout the state If laws change from community to community regarding driving, then each time I hit the Pittfield Township border I can do something, andthen in A2 I cant, then I hit Scio I can again. Driving laws need to be consistent throughout. What if a city I do not live in, and rarely visit enacts a law that red cars are not allowed. I own a red car. I now need to KNOW the laws in EVERY city and township in the state? Give me a break.


Thu, Feb 18, 2010 : 11:31 a.m.

Equally hazardous are idiotic pedestrians who are talking/texting while crossing busy streets. Just sayin'. I have no problem with the proposed law, ESPECIALLY if it generates revenue, and even if that was its real purpose that politicians are trying to hide under the guise of safety concerns. The city needs to increase revenue in new ways. If this law accomplishes that while also improving the safety of its citizens, what's wrong with that? If you don't get that, then please go be some other city's problem, because you're clearly not the solution.

Go Blue

Thu, Feb 18, 2010 : 8:43 a.m.

"read a map or other image, whether or not the image or map includes or is accompanied by written or oral messages." So a GPS system cannot be used in the city of A2 - this is getting absurd. The whole purpose of a GPS is to eliminate reading a map in hand while trying to drive and find a place. So which is safer? Something that verbally guides a person to the right location or the person driving, with map in hand, while looking for a specific location? I agree with the cell phone and texting scenarios - we've all been behind someone that is clearly doing one or the other. That is obvious and that is what needs to be addressed. Pulling everything under the sun into the same ban is foolish. And, with a smaller police force, how on earth will the officers have time to even mess with something like this. Let's see - make the choice - handle that crime or stop someone using a GPS. Gee that's a tough choice isn't it. I don't know what's going on with city council but its really feeling less like a democracy and more like a little kingdom of "I want" and "my personal agenda is." Seems there are far more important and critical issues the deal with and problems to solve than this. Time to vote people.

peg dash fab

Thu, Feb 18, 2010 : 2:04 a.m.

First it's cell phones, then it's GPS and radio, then it's guns! Someone alert the NRA! They can have my iPhone when they pry my cold dead hands off that PoS touchscreen keyboard! Look up! Black helicopters! Call out the Militia! Obama and his pinko pals in City Hall are after our Second Amendment rights again!

Charley Sullivan

Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 11:53 p.m.

In my way younger days, while driving, I reached down to change the radio station, and promptly rear-ended a driver in front of me, who had stopped because the person in front of him needed to make a left-hand turn and was waiting for oncoming traffic to clear. Oops! And what did the judge get me on? Failure to pay full time and attention to my driving, which would also fit with people who get into accidents while texting, talking, etc. Seems like, in fact, all that is needed in this case is already on the books. And, in fact, it also already covers things like eating, arguing with your spouse/partner/friend/kids, fixing your make-up, and, still, to this day, changing the radio station. I've seen all those cause issues on my commute from Ypsi to Ann Arbor in the past few weeks. The specific cell-phone inspired legislation is trendy, and if there were a specific effect to banning cell-phone use, it would have long ago shown up in the data on real traffic incidents in places where bans have gone into effect, but that seems not to be the case here. The answer here is not legislation, but education, and experience and maturity. I'm careful about when I change the radio station while driving, to this day, and after some early uncomfortable experiences with texting while driving, I've taught myself not to look at my phone while the car is in motion.


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 11:09 p.m.

Ban them. I have had FAR too many close calls on Ann Arbor streets and area roads. Testing shows driving while texting or talking on cell phones while driving is a greater hazard than driving drunk.


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 10:23 p.m.

Are there going to be signs at every road as you cross the city limits? What about if I have my cell phone on speaker? Can I reach down to swipe it so I can answer the call? But then if I got pulled over because I was scratching my ear, there would be no way to prove that I'm innocent because there would still be record of a phone call at that time even though it was technically hands free. I can't see how this would possibly hold up in court.

George Hayduke

Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 10:07 p.m.

The insurance companies (IIHS) now admit that the cell phone bans in cities don't reduce the numbers of accidents. See the actual report here: Also, here's an article with additional info:,2933,584306,00.html So my friends.... should this new "law" pass, get your wallets out and get ready to pay the Ann-Arbor-Cell-Phone-Tax. Isn't it comforting to know that Ann Arbor's finest will now have even MORE revenue collecting duties to perform, instead of preventing crime and performing other *real* law enforcement duties. -GH


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 9:39 p.m.

It is a huge driving hazard to talk on the cell phone or text. It is a known fact and many other cities are cracking down on it. I'm glad Ann Arbor finally got it! Stop Talking and Texting!


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 9:15 p.m.

ditto to 'wookie', 'james', and 'stunfish'. There will always be a 'weak' link in the chain. Once they have succeeded in outlawing cell phones, what next? Maybe they will mandate the use of helmets use inside vehicles because that would cut down on head injuries. Or how about everybody drive 10 mph? Or that all passengers wear gags so no conversation takes place? Man, but wouldn't we just have the safest city? Lookin' forward to that.

Todd W. Grant

Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 9:08 p.m.

CAR CELL PHONE BAN CONCERN FROM AN ATTORNEY I agree in principle that there should be a ban on talking on a cell phone while driving; however, I am concerned about proper and effective notice to drivers. All other local driving rules have proper notice through posted signs (speed limits, one-way streets, etc.). A state-wide ban on car drivers using cell phones, as in New York, is announced on the New York Thruway and other highways going into the state, as well as on maps printed by the state government. Without a state-wide ban in Michigan, the tourists, alumni football fans, and business travelers who drive to Ann Arbor are NOT going to have proper notice of the ban. These folks will just end up being fined as the result of a sneaky GOTCHA! local ordinance. It reminds me of those sleepy southern towns of years ago that paid for their police officer with a speed trap. Legal? Yes. A sneaky way of raising money off people who couldnt vote? Yes. Therefore, if Ann Arbor is going to enact such a ban (and I approve), it should do the right thing and spend the tens of thousand of dollars necessary in order to erect large road signs at the citys main entrances: State Street, Ann Arbor-Saline Road, Jackson, North Main Street, Fuller, Geddes, Washtenaw, etc., to properly inform drivers of the cell phone ban. If the city cant spend the money for the large road signs and do the ethical thing, then it should pass on the ordinance. Lets do this right above board! Sincerely, Todd W. Grant, MHSA, JD


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 9:05 p.m.

"I live on my telephone for business, have never been in an accident and have driven over 1 million miles in my 35 years of driving." Well to be fair you haven't been talking on a cell phone for the last 35 years. I mean I hate to nitpick and all...


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 9:03 p.m.

I like it.To many idiots that cant walk and chew gum are trying to talk,text and drive.Whenever I see erratic driving usually its someone with a phone in their ear.Its not gonna kill anyone to not talk but driving distracted might.Its simple,pull over to look at a map or gps and to make a call.And the person that threAtened not to patronize the small shops in downtown Ann Arbor:ha ha,like you ever do anyway.Thats why its 90 % restaurants because no one else does either.


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 8:57 p.m.

"cell phones are not the problem...bad drivers are the problem; easily distracted drivers are the problem." 100% agree.


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 8:53 p.m.

This is as several others have said, just a way to create a new revenue stream. This will be one more reason I won't come to Ann Arbor. I live on my telephone for business, have never been in an accident and have driven over 1 million miles in my 35 years of driving. One size does not fit all. If this passes, I will stay out of A2. No more lunch's at Real Seafood, Weber's or Olive Garden. Will go to Ypsilanti,Dexter,Saline,Milan etc.


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 8:51 p.m.

Dudes, dudes...distracted, wreckless, careless, weaving driving is already against the law. Why do we need yet another useless duplicative law to waste my tax dollars due to the lack of true focus of the City Council. Please, please focus on real issues to spend my hard earned tax dollars and STOP sniffing the heals of the media. Cell phones are not the problem...bad drivers are the problem; easily distracted drivers are the problem. WAKE UP!!! LOOK AT THE GUY DRIVING NEXT TO YOU; IT'S ME!!!

Ken Olson

Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 8:51 p.m.

This would be an ordinance based on fear and paranoia. No more mp3 player while riding my bike. I can't touch the buttons of the GPS system in my car. Babies in a car or bike seat are a distraction. Should they be banned, too? An ordinance like this isn't free. The city should provide one street parking space per block downtown for a "legal place to park" and use GPS devices. Outside downtown the city should build safe turnouts every half mile on major streets.


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 8:44 p.m.

But yes V i do think with out evidence to support it they are being a little disingenuous about the "public safety" aspect. but that's politicking for you. I mean, they are trying to tell us extending meter hours in the downtown (which i am for) is to "help" the downtown businesses which is a joke.


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 8:35 p.m.

"So, the city council MUST have some solid evidence that people talking on cell phones are causing many accidents and deaths. " So your claim is that there must be deaths to pass an ordinance? Like the chicken coupe ordinance? Or the loud music ordinance? or any ordinance? Take the loud music ordinance...the college kids, they hate it. Has it ever resulted in a death? probably not. Has it annoyed people? Yes it has and that's why it's illegal. people on cell phones driving annoy people, and they are getting phased out. BUT taken the silly death thing out of your post I too would like to see accident reports to this fact. I guess if i really thought about it, we do have enough laws to ticket more people, but they don't do it enough for my tastes. I've said before on here just put a cop by any downtown pedestrain crossing and every driver that doesn't yield, ticket them. But you know how it is...people don't want there monies worth when paying police because it might effect them.


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 8:05 p.m.

"Let's see the hard statistics. We need this information to know whether an ordinance is necessary. Let's see the facts." Sure....let's see how many people actually died of drunk drivers hitting and killing them in the past 5 to 10 years. How about people that were high on PCP? Heck no one does PCP anymore so that number is 0, better take that off the books and make it legal.


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 8:02 p.m.

"Hands Free means 'not holding to your ear and not dialing your phone, and not typing, and not texting, and not reading e-mails'" RonAnnArbor - I don't know where you got that definition. No such definition exists in the ordinance. I agree that it is basically what I think of when I think of hands-free, but what I think is not relevant when it comes to application of the ordinance. Because the term is not defined it is open to interpretation (or misinterpretation) by drivers, cops, attorneys and judges. The point is the ordinance is poorly written and should be improved before approved or implemented.


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 7:54 p.m.

"maybe cities should reduce their government staff and expeditures to save more with less...." I totally agree with you. If it were up to me the city would sell half of it's parks and save money that way. It wouldn't buy up land outside the city (although i think that greenbelt was voted on?). It wouldn't do a lot of things, but I'm dealing with what's in front of me. I'm a prop tax payer and I've loved the idea of income tax for years...not just to fix this problem. I agree that if you get more money all of a sudden you still need to reign in spending or this will just happen again. But it isn't as easy as you make it sound. You need to pay more money to get better qualified people in high up jobs...can we all at least agree on that? People are posting they'll move away if there's an income tax and yet they want to slash administration paychecks by 15%...that's laughable at best. You can't overnight reduce the amount of costs foir health care, and as we all know health care is so expensive right now there's a huige burden there. What can the city do? Take the million from the water sculptures, 100% agree. Go make the unions realize that they are gunna take a huge hit and live it, just like everyone else.

university brat

Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 7:48 p.m.

HURRAY!!! It's about time those willing to put my life in danger over their self absorbed cell phone conversations get thumped. SHUT UP, and drive your lethal weapon attentively. I'm with ya North East.


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 7:45 p.m.

Ann Arbor fails agian! I have not once almost gotten in an accident with a person on there cell phone. However...I have almost been taken out on a daily bases by BAD drivers who just don't know how to drive.For example drivers who stop in the middle of the road, drive 15 under the speed limit, turn on the right turn signal then make a left turn from the right turn lane etc.... Not to mention when it snows the city cant find the money to maintain safe roads and they are a huge hazard to drive on. Also roads that are so worn out they are not safe to drive on be it from pot holes or they are so warped you are driving in a trench. So way to go Ann Arbor pass your money making law and waste the money on god knows what while the roads fall to pieces you charge us to take drop off our recyceling, you don't remove snow and layoff half of the police and fire departments. The new city hall seems to be coming along nice though...must not have cost much.

north east

Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 7:34 p.m.

Seams like a good idea to me. I just saw someone at Plymouth and the parkway run a red light (turning left) wile talking n the phone. My question what is so damned important that YOUR willing to risk my life for?


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 7:31 p.m.

hey LOKA.. maybe cities should reduce their government staff and expeditures to save more with less....


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 7:31 p.m.

Just one more step into a socialist country. Shame on Ann Arbor Council!


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 7:15 p.m.

The City Council just pasted a nice, big "KICK ME" sign on their own back sides. How on earth did these folks come to be our representatives? Why don't we just ticket bad driving? Why do we want to ticket the 'potential' for bad driving? For whatever reason, if someone is unable to safely negotiate their way through town, then by all means, give 'em a ticket. But if I can talk safely on the phone while holding it securely to my ear, then why do I get a ticket? Let's say, for instance, that none of the revenue from the tickets goes to the City. Instead, it goes to some sort of insurance fund that pays for broken bones sustained from cell phone abuse. Now, how many of you think that the esteemed City Fathers would still be so interested in our collective health? Any cops out there who would like to give their 2 cents? They must really be looking forward to handing out the first batch of tickets.


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 7:08 p.m.

"nice way to get some revenue" Yes it is. Wow...cities need money to survive...what a shock.


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 6:51 p.m.

nice way to get some revenue....why not make it $250 fine (I am being sarcastic in case no one gets it).


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 6:35 p.m.

"That is, as long as this doesn't give the police carte blanche to pull over anyone, at anytime, because they "thought they saw a cell phone"." Very good point.


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 6:21 p.m.

I have read the proposed ordinance and it looks like a legal battle waiting to happen. The term "hands free" is undefined. By my read this proposed ordinance bans the manual operation of your car radio (turning it on, changing the station, adjusting the volume, etc.) while in motion or even at a stop light! As far as I know there is no legal definition for the term "hands free". "Hands free" is a marketing term that has no clear limits. This is important since virtually all so-called "hands free" devices (like bluetooth earbuds) require manual manipulation to activate them. The literal interpretation of "hands free" means not touched by hands, so the ordinance would make these so called "hands free" devices illegal to put on, turn on, change volume or turn off while in motion (or at a stop light). Banned also would be inserting, removing, turning on or off a hearing aide while driving (or at a stop light). It clearly bans the manual operation of CBs in trucks and dispatcher radios in taxis. There are many such ordinances that have passed legal scrutiny in the US. I suspect that this ordinance was written from scratch. If so, why are we trying to reinvent the wheel. It is just a matter of time until it has to be rewritten.

DJ Doubleplus

Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 6:17 p.m.

IT'S ABOUT TIME SOMEONE DID SOMETHING ABOUT THIS! That is, as long as this doesn't give the police carte blanche to pull over anyone, at anytime, because they "thought they saw a cell phone". Discriminatory PROFILING is a big enough problem without giving them a tool that will be so easy to abuse. That said, I'm all for the ban on doing these things "WHILE DRIVING". But if the city wants people to play along with this, they need to be way more lenient about the "safe parking spot" clause. For years we have been encouraging people to pull off to the side of the road to talk. But now it sounds like they will ticket you if you don't go find a parking lot. This will be especially difficult when trying to navigate with GPS. We need to be able to pull onto the shoulder with the motor running, to check our directions and get back on the road quickly. Nobody is going to follow this ordinance if they don't MAKE IT CONVENIENT FOR US TO PLAY ALONG. Work with us people! On another note, hands free driving-while-talking is almost as dangerous. But I'm glad they are not going to ban that too. I must admit I am guilty of doing this myself. But hey, the feature came with my car!;-)


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 6:11 p.m.

AlphaAlpha is correct >>Council's time would be better spent addressing >>a huge and growing budget deficit?


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 5:46 p.m.

it's hard for me to believe anyone can justify the use of cell phones or texting while driving. I hope y'all are driving far behind me.


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 5:17 p.m.

Would Council's time be better spent addressing a huge and growing budget deficit?


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 5:15 p.m.

What about UPS, FedEx and all the other delivery services that rely on radio's for communications. What about the UM and all of their maintenance workers that use two way radio's, what about city utility workers who also use two-way radio's. What if I'm talking to On-Star for turn-by-turn directions, will I get a ticket then? So, who's going to get the student revenue when the vast amount of students are found riding their bikes and listening to their i-pods, MP3 or talking on their cell? Will the UM fight the city over revenue rights? Sorry A2 leaders (and I use that term loosely) this is not leadership. What a farce.


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 5:09 p.m.

Having my kids with me in the car is far more distracting. Oh and so is having a person that you are in the car with and talking to while driving. I wish they would make a law that all cars have to have partitions between drivers and passengers!


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 4:59 p.m.

Right in the ordinance it says they are not covered by it. Are you also mad the Cop had a loaded gun on him and you can't? Hey i saw a Fire Fighter with an axe the other day...should I be mad I can't carry an axe in my car? Then i saw a pizza delivery guy and I was soooo hungry and he had a pizza that's not fair!


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 4:47 p.m.

Just last week, I was making a left off Jackson too have a AAPD car go around me on the right side. Too see HIS left hand with cell phone in it and His elbow resting in the inside panel.. WHAT IS HIS FINE???? THATS RIGHT THEY GET NO FINES!!!!


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 4:27 p.m.

...don't worry about being ticketed. All the AAPD police cars will be pulled into parking lots and parked trying to get their next call updated on their MDT (mobile data terminal), in car computers...or talking on THEIR cellphones. The "ordinance" is the "ordinance." YAY big government!! Maybe the City could create a corporate relationship with Sprint, Verizon, ATT and then exclude those subscribed to the partner service from the ban?? READ PSJ's post... ON POINT!!


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 3:59 p.m.

Would I receive a ticket if I use my cell phone battery to power my car?

David Wallner

Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 3:51 p.m.

I think the solution to the entire cell phone thing is to install more speed humps. Instead of just installing puney little speed humps like the ones that have sprung up all over town (my favorite one is at the intersection of Independence and Gladstone, already a three way stop) let's install some honking big ones, the kind that will jar the cell phones right out of your hand when you hit them. This way the cops can continue to do whatever they do and they won't have to worry about the extra stress of looking for people trying to hid their cell use.


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 3:35 p.m.

If my husband is using his cell phone driving and I call him and then he ignore what I say, does he still get a ticket? Of does he have to answer back to what I say? Just wondering how enforcement is going to work. Can the officer talk on his or her cell phone while writing citation?

The Grinch

Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 3:02 p.m.

sbbuilder: read the article just posted today: the city is on the hook for the full $22 million. As for the allegedly huge sums of money involved through issuing tickets, the city of Ypsilanti had an apparently illegal requirement that its police on traffic dutry write one ticket per day. That tells me that, as a rule, police do not write traffic tickets. One ticket per day for the AAPD officers on road patrol--I'll be that comes to a whole 20 tickets per day = 7000 per year = (@ $100 per ticker) $700,000 - roughly 30% of which A2 does not get to keep = $500,000 per year. For a city with a $380 million budget and an $18 million projected deficit, this is chicken feed. And I can tell you that for all of the aggressive driving, traffic lights and stop signs blown through, tailgaiting, and speeding well in excess of the speed limit that I see every day, I almost never see someone pulled over. So if any local government really wanted to turn traffic violations into a solid revenue stream, there are more than enough scofflaws out there who are apparently "willing" to pay. If you and others don't want to be part of that revenue stream, don't break the law--it's that simple.


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 2:57 p.m.

"Will the people of Ann Arbor accept this? I do not think we need a nanny state." We all ready do....helmet law...seatbelt laws...etc.


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 2:56 p.m.

The article says that this does not apply to items that are hands free. So I take that to mean that I can use a bluetooth. Am I correct Ryan Stanton?

Macabre Sunset

Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 2:46 p.m.

Sounds like this needs some fine-tuning. Of course, tuning is not hands-free and will cost you $125 and a date with Judge Judy. Also seems to miss the point that the studies show the hands-free cells are just as dangerous. Our brains just seem to go elsewhere when we're on the phone.


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 2:45 p.m.

If this ban is not going to be statewide, then it does not make much sense. So if I'm driving eastbound on Washtenaw and cross Carpenter, I can flip my phone on. Luckily, I have the Ford Sync system, so this will not screw me over. Furthermore, I highly doubt most people will follow this ordinance. Complete waste of time!


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 2:38 p.m.

So, I can use a cell phone safely for over 25 years, with never an incident, and now it will be illegal? (Let's say, for argument purposes that I refrain from 'hands free' devices.) I don't care what the distraction is, be it cell phones, passengers, kids in the back, kids in the front, channel surfing on the radio, adjusting the temperature, rubber necking accidents on the other side of the highway, scantily clad chicks in the summer, the fact of the matter is that if you allow yourself to be distracted, and because of that you drive in an unsafe manner, you should get a ticket. But do not lump everyone in the same bad apple group. Some people can deal with multiple tasks yet remain focused on driving. Leave them be. Some people should not even get in the driver's seat (I'm sure you can name a few yourself). Go after them. Grinch: Let's re-do a little of your math, shall we? First, the fine is 150 for a first offense, then up to 300. So, let's assume a mean of about 200. Then, the amount that AA needs to contribute to the bridge fiasco is not the full 22M. I'm sure the State and/or the Feds will kick in well more than half. So let's assume about 6M comes from our dear misguided City. That leaves only 30,000 tickets! O.K, still rather silly, but the question still remains: Why is the City so eager to jump ahead of the State with this? Answer: Dollers. Lots and lots of dollars. Would a cop here in A2 like to weigh in here? If this passes, how on earth are you going to use your 'discretion'? I don't envy you guys one bit.


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 2:34 p.m.

I agree with the comments about needing signs on the roads - I have lived in the area for a very long time but I'm sure I couldn't tell you where exactly the boundaries of the City of AA are. I agree that driving while talking on a cell phone is generally a bad idea, but so is making this law that just covers AA rather than the surrounding townships.


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 2:21 p.m.

GOOD. i'm sick and tired of driving behind somebody who's weaving in and out of their lane--usually 10 mph under the speed limit--and when i do finally pass them, 90% of the time they have a stupid phone glued to their ear. talking on the phone increases your chances of getting into/creating an accident, period. texting brings it up to 21 times more likely, or something like that. i drive up to 25K miles per year for business, and although i can drive quite adequately while talking on the phone by now, i know most people simply cannot, so i'm ALL for this law. why is everybody freaking out? it's not taking away any of your rights; it's creating safer roads for drivers, bikers, and pedestrians. get a bluetooth, and move on already. jeez.


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 2:19 p.m.

As far as the Stadium Bridge is concerned, you would think this would be one project that UMich would see their way clear to giving a little help with. Particularly the Athletic Department. Fat chance.

John of Saline

Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 2:11 p.m.

I don't have the source handy, but I once read that a study done with driving simulators showed that it was more distracting to talk on a cell phone, even with a hands-free device, than to read a book projected on the windshield!


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 2:05 p.m.

Everyone get in a twist on this site demanding Council members give back 3% of their pay (which is nothing), but no one has the time to wait to see if grants are available for this bridge before shelling out 22 million?


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 1:52 p.m.

Well i(sic) don't know about you but everytime i get a paycheck a chunk comes out for this place called "the State of Muichigan." Michigan Department of Trtansportation already has my monies to fix this bad boy.

The Grinch

Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 1:46 p.m.

"Becasue that's were [sic] monies come from to fix huge public projects like bridges." Oh, come on. You've got to be kidding me. The last estimate I saw for the Stadium bridge project was $22 million. If the ticket for cell phone use was $50 and if the city got every penny of that $50 (which it does not), the city would have to.... wait for it..... here it comes..... write 440,000 cell phone citations to pay for that project. Let's get serious, folks.


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 1:43 p.m.

Will police officers be required to take a photo of the driver to confirm that the phone was being used to text or talk? Maybe I missed this.


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 1:39 p.m.

"Does he feel the same about the Stadium Bridges? How about our crumbling roads? And why isn't he and the rest of council and Fraser scrambling around, working the phones, calling state and fed reps to get those bridges fixed?" Becasue that's were monies come from to fix huge public projects like bridges.


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 1:35 p.m.

The following is the key sentence in the article: "According to the ordinance, the ban doesn't apply to the above mentioned devices if the person is using them hands-free or during an emergency situation." One can do a heck of a lot on these devices "hands free". As someone pointed out with a GPA, you simply put your directional information in before heading out. j.c.


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 1:34 p.m.

Rapundollar says that "This is a major public safety issue," Does he feel the same about the Stadium Bridges? How about our crumbling roads? And why isn't he and the rest of council and Fraser scrambling around, working the phones, calling state and fed reps to get those bridges fixed?

Snarf Oscar Boondoggle

Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 1:16 p.m.

texting ban, maybe; cell phones ban, no. texting takes both hands as well as taking your eyesoff the road. cell phone takes one hand and you still watch where your are going. of course if Council Member Stephen Rapundalo, D-2nd Ward really wants to legislate agianst traffic-causing 'devices' ban cars! tha;t'll fix 'em! this is the sort of 'thinking' that generates multiple challengers in the next election, imo. [ed: good grief!]


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 1:08 p.m.

First.I support a cell phone ban. What the City Council is doing should have happen long ago. So I give some points to the Council. Howeverwho wrote this ordinance? Was this an assignment for the Freshman class at Pioneer? With all the great legal minds in this town over at our world class University you would have thought this ordinance would have been better. Love the guilty until you prove yourself innocent line. Seems to go against everything this country was built around. Wonder what our friends at the ACLU would think about this piece of legislation. Maybe to save time we should just bring the ACLU in now.cause they are going to have fun ripping this proposed law apart. If you want to contact the ACLU here is a good place to start. This proposed law is so poorly written that this is proof enough that the so called leaders of AA need to be removed. This town will spend a fortune trying to defend this law in court. What do any lawyers out there think about this law? We have some of the greatest minds in the world right here. Can some of those great minds at that great University help run this town?


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 1:04 p.m.

Good, I'm tired of playing frogger every time i try to cross the street because people don't pay attention to what they're doing. Cell phones, i-pods, ect... This is not a new idea and people have been able to continue on with their lives afterwards in plenty other places. People need to stop crying because the city council is making you be a safer driver.


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 12:55 p.m.

While I really hate the idea of more laws and somone restricting my freedom to do things, I would probably go along with this. Talking on the phone is bad enough, but texting when driving is super dangerous. Unfortunently, I fully expect drivers to be just as horrible as driving in this town after the ordinance.


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 12:54 p.m.

We're not driving pnone booths! Anyone can pull over and take a phone call rather than risk distraction especially in a city of student pedestrian traffic. With the advent of safer cars people really don't think about rolling in a couple of tons of deadly steel. What about the smaller street traffic, pedestrians, bicycles, mopeds, or smaller less protected cars. How much of a hurry do we have to be in that we can't stop and think before making a deadly mistake. Book em Dano!


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 12:51 p.m.

Wow. This topic has generated more responses more quickly than any subject I've seen on Touched a nerve, I think. "Don't tell me I can't play with my toys!!" Seriously, the display by many of an inability to use common sense with their cell phones, etc. is now being amplified by the City Council's lack of common sense and grammatical concision. Honestly, a bluetooth earpiece or speaker is not that expensive these days. Also, a word of advice to those who cannot speak on a phone without constant hand gesticulations - even a bluetooth earpiece or speaker is no help to you. Pull into a parking spot, or just turn off the cell phone when you are driving. It might even keep other drivers from demonstrating some of their hand gestures to you.;^)

Jello Biafra

Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 12:42 p.m.

Welcome Ann Arbor, to what the rest of the country started doing years ago. Can anyone provide a GOOD REASON to be flapping away on a phone when operating a heavy piece of machinery? I mean, seriously folks, get over it already.


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 12:32 p.m.

1) I agree that talking on cell phones and texting should be banned. 2) I think that the (5) clause that basically states that you are guilty until proved innocent is insane, and frankly unconstitutional. 3) What about the Ann Arbor police I see driving on cell phones without hands free devices on a regular basis, especially near Ellsworth Road and Stone School Road? Who will enforce this rule on the police themselves?


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 12:21 p.m.

I will never stop using my hands-free devices, no matter what kind of law they pass. Still, I would like the breadth of this law - if the legislators would make the resulting accident or unsafe maneuver (like crossing a lane marker without signaling, or crossing the center line) the primary offense. As written, the law discriminates against those of us with the common sense to actively remain conscious of our position on the road and the vehicles and people around us. It is entirely possible to speak and to process sound coming in your ear while keeping your eyes and the major part of your consciousness on the road, and any just law will accommodate those with consciousness and commitment to do so.


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 12:07 p.m.

The comments here, when compared to the poll, do show that the most vocal posters here are not necessarily the majority who read here, and do not necessarily represent the opinion of most.


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 11:53 a.m.

Who is the political opportunist Rapundalo who wants to make life difficult for Ann Arborans. The first thing we should do is recall him. Later, we might propose some sensible legislation. The problem is irresponsible driving, not the use of cell phones. I have had no problem with people blocking my way while using a cell phone. I have had a lot of problems with impatient and irresponsible drivers trying to get around my car and cutting in front of me because they were impatient. They honk when they are angry with anyone who is driving slowly and carefully. I am sure they are angry with cell phone users who may not be distracted, but just driving slowly. They probably want all bike riders off the road, and will use this sort of legislation to get rid of them. Using a keyboard while driving is a different matter, but this legislations is overly punitive and irresponsible by lumping all devices together. I find little problem with a GPS placed at eye level showing map in the general field of vision needed for driving. One shouldn't look down or up at them. More study is needed to find out how some of these things can be used safely. This legislation is political grandstanding and should not be passed as it has been written.


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 11:47 a.m.

Uh hello USA - you are already way behind most of the rest of the world here I am afraid I think Ann Arbor City Council should be applauded this time, whilst they have been making some very questionable proposals lately.......THIS IS A GOOD ONE. Wake up readers, it is a fact - driving and texting is dangerous and costs lives.


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 11:43 a.m.

Not sure if CB radios are included in this ridiculous ordinance. But it seems to fit the definition. So will we now be stopping all trucks with antennas on them? If they have a CB we have to assume they are on. How about all the higher end cars that have GPS units built into them. If they have them in the car are they using them just because they are on? Michigan Vehicle code covers careless and reckless driving. If some one is distracted, driving too slow or fast, crossing between lanes w/o signaling, or cause an accident by being distracted, then either of these could apply depending on the actions of the driver. We have laws to cover this type of driving. But if we have to have a new law, it should be a State law. Oh heres another idea, how about better driver education! Our City Council would better serve the citizens by figuring out how to improve the crumbling infrastructure, rather than these vanity ordinances. Dodging potholes is a full time job in this town.


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 11:17 a.m.

Looks like I may be making my first foray to City Hall. This is coo-koo. I totally agree with PSJ. Some people are barely able to walk and chew gum. Some people are a danger to themselves the moment they strap a seat belt on, without an electronic device in sight. Add a passenger, or an unfamiliar surrounding, or inclement weather, and they may as well leave the car in the drive. Others are, and have been for many, many years, able to multi-task with complete safety. This one-size-fits-all legislation is, I'm afraid to say, all about money, cloaked in safety. Why not, as one other poster has noted, ticket the nincompoops who are clearly driving in a distracted, unsafe manner? Why not bump the fine way up if there is an accident? Why not leave the insurance companies to deal with the punitive side of the issue? There are many people who are trained to multi-task while in a moving 'vehicle'. How about us pilots? We navigate with moving-map displays, we are constantly monitoring multiple instruments, we are on the radio, communicating with Air Traffic Control and other aircraft, all the while navigating a three dimensional space at very high speed. (Oh, and don't forget the kids in the back of the plane who are on their I-pods, and complaining that they have to pee now!) So I am able to do all this, but I can't use my cell while puttsing around town? Tell you what I'm gonna do: I've an old cell phone with a dead battery, and I'm gonna hold that up to my ear every chance I get while driving past a cop. Let's everone practice a little civil disobedience. Annoy the cops so much that they will chose to ignore this pending legislation. So, what time is that meeting.....?


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 11:10 a.m.

We all drove around for many years without phones, 99% of you people aren't that important that you have to talk with anyone of any importance while driving, and the 1% can usaually wait. Give it up, I think the fines are too low. All you have to do is pull over and not be driving if you really need to use the phone. What a bunch of whinners in A2.


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 10:59 a.m.

Please add anyone pushing a baby stroller to the list. We wouldn't want errant strollers rolling out in front of a bike or car driver.


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 10:56 a.m.

Get a grip, people. The ban does not apply to handsfree or emergency use. That means that ordinary conversation with another rider, use of the radio, ipod, gps (as long as you're not using your hands) or cellphone, via bluetooth, loudspeaker, or playing through the radio, is ALLOWED.


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 10:53 a.m.

For the people here who are claiming their rights are being taken away or that the council needs to focis on other issues...You should have seen the episode of "The Oprah Show" where they showed fatal victims of accidents where the driver of either vehicle was talking or texting. it would break your heart. I have been cut off so many times by distracted drivers and I always see a cell phone in their hand! Do you seriously want your loved one to be hurt or killed because of a distracted driver? Take the pledge and make your vehicle a NO PHONE ZONE!


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 10:51 a.m.

Its looks good on paper but people will still use there cell phones while driving, it is in our culture to answer the phone when it rings or look at it when we get a text message. And to what degree will it be enforceable is another question. Road officers aren't gonna be trying to look into every cars windows to see if someone is on the phone. Also, i bet the mayor and city council members all talk on there phones while there driving.


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 10:49 a.m.

Just another misdirected diversion by city council. I can envision the cell phone police parody on late night TV. perhaps they can use the same director as Audi did for the eco police ad for the super bowl

Oliver Roberts

Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 10:45 a.m.

good luck enforcing this.


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 10:42 a.m.

I fully support a ban on hand-held *cell phone* use (texting or talking) while driving. However, it appears that Ann Arbor is about to run afoul of Federal regulations here. It appears that the proposed ordinance would ban Federally-licensed radio service users, such as GMRS and ham radio, from using their legally licensed radios for legal purposes. It would appear to be illegal for a taxicab operator or radio-dispatched plumber to acknowledge a call from their dispatcher, or for a ham radio SKYWARN volunteer to call in a severe weather report to the county Emergency Management Division. The Council and Mayor are really making themselves look foolish, or worse. Instead of trying to look "progressive", they need to stick to what they know. The city can't afford the lawsuits that could easily result from this ordinance, as proposed.


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 10:38 a.m.

No phone to the ear or texting I get, but no maps or GPS, that is mad. This is very poorly written. Most cities also say it is ok to use hands-free devices, but it sounds like that is off limits as well. GPS is now standard in many cars and is a driving aid... how can that be lumped into this? If I'm on a long trip I can't memorize every turn, glancing down at a map for a street name is needed, we can't be expected to pull over every 30 seconds to check for our next turn. I will stay away from Ann Arbor if this goes through and I think I will be joined by thousands of people.


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 10:32 a.m.

Oh those LEFTY elites just love to tell us what is best for us. They are truly omnipotent! Perhaps they should focus on the budget and CUT spending to match revenue.....OR is this one of their revenue "enhancements"?????

Atticus F.

Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 10:30 a.m.

Will this be a primary or secondary offense?


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 10:22 a.m.

We ban the source of the problem, CARS!!! We should live up to the green and progressive city that we are. Think of how many less accidents there will be, less death, fresher air, all the freed up parking spaces available for green zones! For the sake of the children....


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 10:11 a.m.

Finally! Ban cellphones while driving now! It's long overdue.


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 9:50 a.m.

Sounds to me like people that are against this are probably part of the problem. Or they are the types that absolutely HATE any type of government intrusion in their daily lives. To those people I for a living and you see how careless people are with these things.


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 9:45 a.m.

Thank You! If people need directions they can read a map and takes notes to have with them like they did before GPS, yes, they can take the 5 minutes to do so. Finally a way to get all those people that cannot multi-task and put our lives in danger everyday to possibly pull over and talk while being parked....whoa, imagine that!


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 9:44 a.m.

This is most excellent and a long time in coming. Folks, make your calls and texts before leaving or when you get to your destination. Ann Arbor is not that large, so how long can your trip be? Use a map before you leave and learn the route or pull over if you need to revisit the directions. Actually, I don't think it goes far enough. I would like to see hands free use banned and not have emergency personnel use cell phones for personal business. Don't they have radios for work use? A question: Will this be an offense for which people can be pulled over or would this be a secondary one? For those who think it's not a problem, I've been bumped into by those who text or talk on their phones while walking! Really, is everyone the President of the UN where they must be in constant communication?


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 9:44 a.m.

I am stunned by the sense of entitlement some people have regarding cell phone use.. I completely support a ban in A2, but where did common sense go? Turn your phone off. Who can't wait to text or make a phone call before they get to the other side of the city?


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 9:31 a.m.

GPS?? What is the rationale behind that? Seems like that would be equivalent to the radio. You don't talk to it... this is odd.


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 9:30 a.m.

When I first read the title of the article, I though, man, this is great because we need to force drivers to become more aware of their surroundings. After reading the article, though, I'm concerned that this is going too far by putting the burden of proof of hands-free usage on the driver. On the other hand, I do not agree with anyone who says that a driver has a right to imperil the lives of those around them, including their own passengers, simply because they want to talk or text on their phone. The other day, I was on Zeeb Rd. heading north. I was stopped at the light by the I-94 westbound exit ramp. There are three cycles at this light. One, the vehicles exiting I-94, two, the vehicles exiting the mini-mall, and three, the vehicles driving north and south on Zeeb Rd. I noticed the cars in both lanes heading south were also stopped when, all of a sudden, one of the stopped drivers started up and went through the red light. I looked over at the driver as he passed me and saw that he was completely engrossed in a cell phone conversation. This is only one of a countless number of incidents I see on a daily basis by drivers using cell phones. Personally, I have occasionally used my phone for very short conversations while driving, though never in traffic, and can attest that my attention span and quality of driving is diminished. I believe Ann Arbor and the state need to enact these bans, however, I think this current proposal, as described the, needs to be send back for tweaking. One other thought is to try and match the content as closely as possible to the proposal on the table by the State so that drivers will only have to learn and follow one law.

Jeff Singleton

Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 9:27 a.m.

"Any type of computer"? My car has several of them built in, just to run. Does this mean I can't even drive my car now?

Bob W

Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 9:23 a.m.

I can't agree more on the concept of banning these things while driving, I think it's a rediculous ordanance at a city/community level. With how many out of town visitors each year to A2, how will they be forewarned and reminded? What about the "new" and greater amounts of technology being built into new cars, Ford specifically. This needs a far more comprehensive approach not a piecemeal community approach. Ann Arbor, you have far bigger problems, focus on them.


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 9:17 a.m.

YES YES YES!!!! PLEASE pass this ban! I am becoming terrified on the roads, and livid at all the people who THINK they are doing a fine job of driving and chatting, but are so clearly not. I'm sorry, but your "need" to talk *right now* does not trump my need to not die. You absolutely can and should legislate safety. This is precisely what legislating is for.


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 9:07 a.m.

I can't count how many times I have almost been hit, run over, or run off the road by people not paying attention because they are on their cell phones. Guess what? People lived without talking on cell phones or texting while driving for many years and did just fine. Ban it PLEASE!!


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 9:07 a.m.

We can't be writing a new law for each new technology. I think that, as proposed, the new law is too specific rather than too narrow. What really terrifies me is when I have a semi driver turning left towards me while chatting on the phone! I agree with a ban. But I believe that existing law already requires drivers to drive with "due care and atteention." It is maybe not a new law that is required, but a broader interpretation of existing law.


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 8:57 a.m.

I have a little problem with banning cell phone calls while driving but I have no problem with banning texting while driving. However this ordinance will issue a fine for use of a GPS or nav system, truckers dispatch radios, car stereos, and even hearing aids for the hearing impaired. I HAVE A HUGE PROBLEM WITH THIS MONEY MAKING SCHEME. Evan is them all out of office at the first chance you get.

The Grinch

Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 8:55 a.m.

"You cannot legislate safety! Talking in an earbud is no different than speaking to someone in the car." Sorry, but NO!! For all of those who insist that talking to a person in a car is no different than using a cell phone: Using cell phones in cars is demonstrably far more dangerous than talking to someone in the car. Ban their use by drivers, NOW!


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 8:53 a.m.

Punish those of us who have safely used cell phones while driving for years? Why in the world would you do that?! If someone is found to be at fault for an accident while on the phone, then I say bump the ticket up to $400 or $500, but leave the rest of us who have never had any mishaps of this sort alone!


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 8:49 a.m.

While I haven't taken the time to read all 48 comments, the few I've scanned seemed to have missed the part that said: "According to the ordinance, the ban doesn't apply to the above mentioned devices if the person is using them hands-free or during an emergency situation." As long as you're not operating the device while driving, you're in the clear. So if you need GPS directions, set it up before you begin driving. If you need to make a phone call, pop in an ear piece and begin the call before you begin driving. This seems like an excellent idea to help keep the people in Ann Arbor safe.


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 8:48 a.m.

Do we have ANY statistics for how bad this problem is? How many accidents were caused by cell phones in drivers' hands? Isn't "distracted driving" already a state civil infraction? Nanny state, I know the well.


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 8:46 a.m.

Thanks MOM for trying to make another law where common sense should be used. I thought we had a major budget issue? What a waste of the city councils time and energy!


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 8:41 a.m.

Understand what this truly is - a method to increase revenue. It has nothing at all to do with safety.


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 8:40 a.m.

About time, all you who don't support a safe-driving measure are just the ones who go driving around in your 1/2 ton SUV's with your brain & your eyes focused on talking to your manicurist instead of the road. Get a life, grow up & drive like an intelligent being!

Mike D.

Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 8:30 a.m.

I fully support a reasonable hand-held cellphone/texting ban, but this law is far too broad. Unless there are significant provisions not included in this story, it would technically make it illegal to tune the radio. What two-bit Cooley Law School dropout drafted this thing?


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 8:27 a.m.

It should be done state-by-state, not city-by-city. Otherwise, there'll be a hodge-podge of differently nuanced laws that no one will understand. Drivers cross jurisdictional boundaries all the time without being aware of them. I think the poll choices offered are too narrow: a simple "yes" or "no" would have been best, since I would vote "No, the city shouldn't pass the ordinance" and "Yes, it's a problem."


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 8:26 a.m.

How about a fine for talking?

Bruce Amrine

Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 8:21 a.m.

I agree that there are issues with distracted driving but I don't think that every municipality in the nation should be trying to deal with it independently in a "patchwork" fashion. It does sound like a money-raiser to me, like a speed trap. I strongly oppose a local ordinance for an issue like this. It should be dealt with on the state and national level and a lot more carefully than our city council seems able to do.


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 8:21 a.m.

Bravo! Another excellent example of questionable time management and efficiency by the council. Up next: Numerous town hall meetings and further debate regarding the council's new from-the-hip cell phone usage rules... all of which'll get us nowhere (See: Argo Dam). I move to have the council scrub graffiti and work at the soup kitchen.

Craig Lounsbury

Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 8:21 a.m.

The thing is several studies show "hands free" devices are no safer than "hands on" devices. So the hypocrisy of the proposed bill is the equivalent to saying driving drunk is against the law unless your drunk on Chardonnay in which case your exempt. The burden of proof of course lies with the driver to prove it was indeed Chardonnay. There are numerous articles back up my point. Below is just one link to a Washington Post article.

Fred Posner

Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 8:20 a.m.

Banning GPS is ridiculous. I'd much rather a person use a GPS than cause accidents when driving confused.

Jerry Renning

Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 8:19 a.m.

You cannot legislate safety! Talking in an earbud is no different than speaking to someone in the car. Should we outlaw people in the back seat? We do look at them in the mirror [distraction] or turn around. What about gazing out the window [ditraction] just as dangerous eh? Get the mass transit systems in place. I may have to stop shopping in Ann Arbor and use the internet! Look at the airlines and how dehumanizing the searches are becoming because the gov missed the signals in December. Bad guys will find other large gatherings... and then there won't be any it will all be telecast.


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 8:16 a.m.

Careless driving has been and continues to be a serious civil infraction. Those engaging in it already face fines, court costs, points and increased insurance premiums. The makers concern was not the many potential distractions that MIGHT cause or contribute to careless driving, but the act itself - careless driving. If I drive in a careless manner and in so doing endanger myself and others - ticket me. If I am able to eat, shave, apply makeup, talk, text, surf or navigate and also drive in a non-dangerous manner, please get out of my life and leave me alone.

Jim Zamberlan

Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 8:13 a.m.

As a runner who very regularly encounters near misses with drivers (while I am legally using crosswalks) because they are oblivious to their surroundings while using a cell phone, I fully support this. Yes, I also occasionally use my phone while driving but I would be more than willing to trade that privilege to enjoy enhanced safety as a pedestrian.


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 8:12 a.m.

Just wondering when it may become "breaking the law" to talk to a passenger in the car or mothers watching, handing things back to the kids, or breaking up fights in the back seat. How about those people who are eating or drinking coffee.LETS GET REAL. Anything that takes your eyes off the road is a distraction. Are we going to charge them all $125.00? The city needs to use some common sense, just like the people driving cars, and not be passing laws to make more money.


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 8:03 a.m.

Sounds like many of you didn't read/understand this story or the proposed ordinance completely... "According to the ordinance, the ban doesn't apply to the above mentioned devices if the person is using them hands-free or during an emergency situation." The ordinance specifically states: (3) This section does not apply to the use of a device while operating a motor vehicle or bicycle under any of the following circumstances: (a) the person uses the device without using his or her hands. All you have to do is program your talking GPS and turn on your radio or IPod before you start to drive; then there's no problem. But certainly no one should be trying to read a map or talk or text on a phone while driving. The statistical studies of accident rates are proof that you are vastly increasing the chance of accidents and endangering your life and the lives of others when you do this.


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 8:02 a.m.

So, on the issue of smoking in restaurants, Ann Arbor decided to let the state act first. But on using cell phones while driving, Ann Arbor wants to act first? I understand the motivation for the legislation, but this is simply NOT a local issue. This is something for the state to decide. I don't consider this Ann Arbor leadership; I consider it Ann Arbor interference. Also, there's this, saying that areas with cell phone bans haven't reduced accidents: One possible explanation: only really bad drivers tend to use handheld devices inappropriately. So while we think it's handheld devices 'causing' the accidents, it's really just bad drivers. And if you take away the devices, you still have the bad drivers, causing accidents. [I think that may be partially true, but frankly it's still a weird finding.] I live in Rapundalo's ward (2) and he can support a city income tax all he wants. But if he continues to try to ram this through instead of leaving it to the state, he doesn't get my vote anymore.


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 7:56 a.m.

If it wasn't a problem, why is everyone looking to address the issue? I agree there are numerous types of distractions, but having driven before the cell age, it is more than apparent electronic devices are causing problems. The purpose of being behind the wheel is to drive, not look for ways to kill time because one is bored.

Bill Sloan

Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 7:56 a.m.

Have commentators missed the data? Someone driving with an alcohol level of.08 is 12% impaired, while someone driving while using one of the devices mentioned is 35% impaired, according to the research cited. I have read other studies that concur. Perhaps the penalty for driving while texting, etc should be three times that of driving at.08! Also, I drive a lot, and from the worst poor driving offenders while driving-using-cell-phones that I've seen it is unlikely that we'll ever see a version of Mothers Against Driving While Yaking and Gesticulating. There's also the " in loco parentis" factor. Other drivers can see when a person is weaving around while talking, and we take care of them by giving them a wide berth. If we didn't I'm sure the data would be much worse. I hope the Council decides according the data, and not be swayed by selfish whiners.


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 7:51 a.m.

I believe the section that says: "According to the ordinance, the ban doesn't apply to the above mentioned devices if the person is using them hands-free......." covers suing Blue tooth (if you use the voice activated dialing option, if available), and presetting the GPS prior to leaving your point of origin, and are just following the route. It does cover messing with it while driving, so the workaround would be to stop somewhere, reset the destination, and go from there. I personally think that as a whole it is a good ordinance (I am fed up seeing people getting injured because somebody was SMS'ing, twitting, IM'ing, etc) even if it means more revenue. I invite everybody that is concerned about revenue to the AAPD, to compare it to the loss of productivity to society.....


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 7:42 a.m.

No phone to the ear or texting I get, but no maps or GPS, that is mad. This is very poorly written. Most cities also say it is ok to use hands-free devices, but it sounds like that is off limits as well. GPS is now standard in many cars and is a driving aid... how can that be lumped into this? If I'm on a long trip I can't memorize every turn, glancing down at a map for a street name is needed, we can't be expected to pull over every 30 seconds to check for our next turn.


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 7:42 a.m.

"A defendant who claims he or she used the device without using his or her hands has the burden of proof that this exception applies." So the citizen has to prove that they were not using their hands. Great. Has it occurred to anyone that it is logically impossible to prove a negative? *sigh* I used to be rather proud that I lived in Ann Arbor. Now I'm embarrassed. All that brain power at the local world-class research university, and none of it found it's way on to the city council? I guess all the smart people are too busy to serve a term.


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 7:41 a.m.

Hearing aids are devices, your ear is an anatomical body part. Do we know if it is a primary or secondary offense, e.g. can you be pulled over for it? Texting in a moving vehicle is dangerous, it should be allowed at stop lights though.


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 7:38 a.m.

I totally support a ban on texting, and even on cell phones when they are not hands free. But GPS? That's crazy. The council continues to fiddle...


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 7:33 a.m.

I don't understand where people are getting that GPS devices will be banned and you will be forever lost in AA. All it is saying is pull into a parking lot, type in where you want to go, and then safely continue on your way. Any responsible citizen should be doing it that way anyway.


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 7:26 a.m.

The poll questions are poorly written, too. Either Yes it's dangerous or No it's not a problem doesn't even come close to covering all the bases. What about, "Yes, it's a problem that needs to be addressed but this proposed ordinance is stupid?" That's the poll answer I would have picked (had it been available).


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 7:25 a.m.

Pedestrians should also be banned from using phones and MP3 players. On more than one occasion I have had people so engrossed with whatever they are listening to that they have walked right in front of me. Also, the city should find money to post signs at EVERY entrance to the city, alerting drivers that phones are not allowed. The city limits are not a straight line. And what happens at border streets? Will phone use be allowed on one side of a street and not the other?


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 7:21 a.m.

"In 2008, 5,870 people lost their lives and an estimated 515,000 people were injured in police-reported crashes in which at least one form of driver distraction was reported on the crash report." I'd also like to ban coffee in cars. Spilling coffee on your lap is VERY distracting. Oh, and kids in cars. They can be distracting. And sexy joggers from view of the road. I find them distracting. And lousy drivers. And aggressive drivers. Personally I think the government should issue us all bubble rap and cradle to grave health care so we can all live to be 100 year old, drooling, dependent, poor people. I'm glad council has nothing bigger to worry about.


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 7:17 a.m.

If they *really* want to deal with the problem of distracted drivers, they must eliminate carpooling. Can't talk or listen to another person while driving? Got to get those passengers out of the car! And that includes children. I can't begin to estimate the number of parents I've seen driving while fully turned around to deal with children in the back seat. A well meaning but totally misguided nanny bill that should be defeated.


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 7:14 a.m.

If this passes, then I think I'll try to avoid going within the Ann Arbor city limits. As a resident of a bordering township, I think I'll just find a way to conduct my business outside the city of Ann Arbor. Yet another reason to avoid going downtown to patronize the small shops. I hardly ever talk on a cell phone while driving, but to think that I could be pulled over and given a ticket simply because an officer thinks they saw me holding a cell phone (and I must prove that I wasn't texting or talking on it) is horrible.

Concerned Citizen

Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 7:10 a.m.

We need to draw young talent to this area, and this law will just drive them away.


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 7:09 a.m. are right....I couldn't believe it... "(5) A defendant who claims he or she used the device without using his or her hands has the burden of proof that this exception applies." Guilty until proven innocent. And how do you do that? We all are going to need to load video cameras in our cars so we have proof that we are innocent. Oh well, we'll get some great you-tube videos of cops berating AA taxpayers. As stated this is strictly a money grab...just another way to rip off the taxpayer.

Concerned Citizen

Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 7:08 a.m.

Although I am not for any of this, the part that inspires me to comment is the no Bluetooth devices or GPS devices. Are you kidding me!?!? Why not ban talking to passengers next? This is just another potential "income" generator for the city. You could also call it a tax. Just think of the political implications of this too. Hopefully this whole thing inspires young voters to vote for their habits and values.


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 7:06 a.m.

Its about time to many people texting or on their cell phone i think its great but its not gong to stop people from texting or blabbing on a cell phone but its a drastic step that needs in place in Ann Arbor plain and simple


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 6:57 a.m.

"The ordinance bans motorists and bicyclists in Ann Arbor from using "any device" to do any of the following: Talk to or listen to another person." A car radio lets you listen to another person. If this ordinance is written in this manner it will ban listening to NPR on WUOM! Hmmm. Maybe not a bad thing. My point is this law is poorly written and overly broad and will impact a larger base than is implied. Unless of course the intent is to supplement the city budget with fines. How about all the businesses that rely on two-way radios to dispatch drivers? Plumbers, electricians, and other businesses use radios and phones to help them conduct their work. Delivery vehicles use GPS systems to help them locate destinations. Heck, even the U-M service vehicles are equipped with radios for dispatching. Or, will it be a matter of "selective enforcement"? Also, what justifications do they have for banning it with bicycles? Exactly how many accidents have resulted from cell phone use in the city of Ann Arbor--both in cars or on bikes? Laws shouldn't be based solely on anecdotal evidence and they should be tailored to the specific problem and not broadly drafted to cover any and all uses. What's next a ban on pedestrian use of phones because a pedestrian MIGHT absent-mindedly jaywalk? I'm sure we've all "seen" instances of distracted pedestrians. In contrast, how many accidents occur each year in AA due to the poor snow-removal and salting (or lack thereof) when there is snowfall? It's always an adventure in AA on a snow day. Finally, the Mayor seems to have forgotten that the State banned all smoking in all public places. So, maybe, we should just wait for the State to pass its law. I see this only as a money grab to issue tickets to students and out-of-towners who won't be savvy to the ordinance.


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 6:53 a.m.

this is simply about revenue generation, not safety. The city could not pass an income tax so they extended hours for meters and now they will be writing tickets for cell phone usage.


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 6:49 a.m.

See section (5) of the proposed new ordinance - drivers are presumed guilty & must prove otherwise! What happen to the constitutional presumption of innocence?


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 6:46 a.m.

This is just another fundraiser for the police department.


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 6:44 a.m.

People freak out about driving around Ann Arbor, claiming it's "so confusing." Now you're saying they can't use a GPS or did I read that wrong? And how is a paper map, that doesn't read you directions, less distracting than a GPS? I wish the city council would understand that you cannot legislate common sense and that the ordinance isn't common sense, either!


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 6:33 a.m.

Do it.


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 6:30 a.m.

People better send texts, e-mails, voicemails etc. to Council to let them know of their displeasure with this proposal (preferably via an electronic device whilst driving or riding their bikes) - better yet show up at the next council meeting and be heard the old-fashioned way. Council always caves to angry neighbors when it comes to real estate development so try the same tactics anti-development NIMBY neighbors use!!! As long as divers/riders still can still legally fard, eat, converse with a passenger and yell @ their unruly kids I'll still be using my cell phone (albeit more stealthily in Ann Arbor).


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 6:24 a.m.

"If anyone had the idea of waiting for the state to do something on this, all we have to do is take a look at what happened with...."...the Stadium Bridge.


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 6:18 a.m.

Sounds like this applies to bluetooth devices and GPS to get around this town. Thanks guys, how are you going to enforce it? Laying off up to 20 cops will help huh?


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 6:17 a.m.

Your ear is a device. So, if I'm in a car or riding my bike, does this mean I can't listen to the person orally speaking to me? What about I-pods while riding a bike? A radio while riding a bike? What evidence does the council have to prove that this is a problem other than what they've "seen"? Is this just a veil disguise to get more money? I don't see where this is a problem in the city. So, the limited police officers that are still employed will now spend their time watching and pulling over people who are talking on their phones or listen to their i-pods while riding their bikes? Oh, why not just set up at any corner on football Saturday and watch & collect revenue from the thousands of people coming into town who might not be familiar with this new ordinance. Gawd A2. What is happening to our town?!?