Of Cell Phones, Driving, and Babbling Idiots

I used to think the worst drivers in the world were to be found in third world countries where the horn substitutes for the brake and machismo compensates for any type of state-sanctioned driver’s ed program.

But lately, in my hometown of Los Angeles, I’ve been slowly changing my mind about this planet’s worst drivers as cars in front of me lazily swerve into my lane, bump curbs, and otherwise weave about as though driven by a vodka-infused village idiot.

But it’s not a drunk behind the wheel; it’s a cell phone bantering ignoramus too busy chatting away to pay attention to the road.

According to a recent survey, Los Angelinos yap on their cell phones more often than any other city in the country with the exception of Miami (260 calls per month vs. Miami’s 290).

You know what both of these cities have in common? No laws against talking and driving. New York, which prohibits the use of cell phones while driving, doesn’t even make the top ten.

Now that cell phones are making inroads in third world countries, I’m even more frightened to visit. All things being equal, however, I’d rather be creamed by Angelina Jolie’s $300,000 Jaguar while she’s chatting with her agent, than to be run over by Jiri’s Russian Lada during a melon negotiation in Azerbaijan on his new cordless telephone.