When I call Ed Spencer on his cell phone, he quickly points out that he is, in fact, driving. He runs his own business, Spencer For Hire Transportation, so to make a living, he doesn’t have a choice but to talk while behind the wheel.
“I try to be as safe as I can,” says Spencer, who adds that he is on a hands-free device.
But for Spencer, who has several clients in Chapel Hill, and other business operators in town who rely on their wheels and their phones at the same time, the town’s recent cell-phone driving ban could be a nuisance.
“I have to answer my phone,” says Dave Cotton, owner of AdvantaClean, an emergency fire and water remediation company. “If I don’t answer my phone, they’re going to call another company.”
These guys are just two examples, but if you asked around, you’d find no shortage of irritated Realtors, contractors, home health care workers and the like who, while not worrying about getting busted, are annoyed the Town Council would give so little thought to those whose car or truck doubles as an office.
“It doesn’t change anything,” Cotton says. “They don’t enforce the laws they’ve got on the books now. I laugh at all the press this thing has gotten.”
On the other hand, these mobile businessmen are sympathetic to the aims of the ban. “A lot of times, it bothers me when someone’s on their phone and they about run you over,” Spencer says. “It really bothers me.”
BACKSTORY The business people we talked to were aware that the cell-phone crime was a secondary violation, meaning they would have to be committing another traffic offense to actually get in trouble for talking behind the wheel. So they were planning on extra vigilance when crossing through town.
“I try to behave myself when I’m in Chapel Hill,” Spencer says with a laugh. TW