Many cities across Canada have already passed laws prohibiting cell phone usage while operating a motor vehicle. But Calgary has not joined that list yet. Drivers in this city are already aware that it's a danger, it's distracting and simply put, it's just plain stupid. So you would think if it's looked upon as being stupid or irresponsible, then certain groups/individuals would refrain from using them in an attempt to set an example.
This afternoon I was driving on one of the busiest Calgary roads. Actually I think it's actually the most traveled road in the city, technically spanning from southern Alberta to northern Alberta. Yeah, that's right, it's a highway, but within our city limits it's known as Deerfoot Trail. Drivers abhor it, steer clear of it if at all possible, but if you happen to live in the northeast or southeast quadrants of Calgary, it's virtually impossible to avoid. Extra care needs to be paid when speeding along at a maximum posted speed of 100km/hr, which incidentally is always ignored.
So I merge onto Deerfoot Trail from my own little corner of the city to find myself behind a Calgary City Police van. Not usually a big deal except that the driver, who unless the vehicle was stolen is a police officer, is swerving slightly over the line, then over-correcting and veering into the other lane. I pull back, unsure of what the heck he was doing. The van slows down, speeds up a little, then slows again. I am behind a driver who at most times, is not doing anymore than 70km/h, but at other times speeds over 100. I pull back further, annoyed, because I need to get past this guy but I have to stay within the limits of the law, don't I?
There is finally a break and I manage to pull around him. As I come up on the side of this white and blue vehicle I can see the officer in his sideview mirror, talking on a cell phone. I was shocked. First thoughts of course were maybe it was an important call, maybe it was the office, but they do have radios for that kind of stuff so I was more inclined to believe it was a personal call. What the hell??? This isn't right, is it? They can't make their own rules separate from the rules set for the rest of the city. Ok, as I said the rules aren't set, but they are implied and they should be leading by example.
So, I get around the cop to only be held up by another slow moving vehicle. This time, it's just the average car, doing no more than 70km/hr in a 100km/h zone. The driver is holding up three other vehicles besides mine. Thankfully, this road is a three lane highway so I manage to pull around. But as I pass, I see that the driver is an elderly man, talking on his cell phone.
Quite frankly, since it's not illegal to drive and talk on a phone, if you can't maintain a normal driving speed, then pull the hell over. Seriously, what is so damn important that the call can't wait until you reach your destination??