DEAR ABBY: I would like to share a recent experience with those of your readers who are anti-cell phone. I understand the anxiety concerning motorists who use cell phones.
I was recently on the freeway and found myself following a van that had a bumper sticker that read, "Shut up and drive!" with a picture of a cell phone. The van unexpectedly swerved to one side and braked as though the driver was alarmed. I wondered if something was wrong (I am a medical practitioner) and cautiously crept up alongside.
When I looked in, I saw a family with the husband driving. The wife was holding a container of ketchup for him to dip his fries into while he held a hamburger with the other hand. At one point, she even shifted gears for him!
Abby, I was appalled. I still can't get over the absurdity. How hypocritical for those people to have a bumper sticker criticizing drivers who use cell phones, while actually doing something more dangerous themselves. I waited for my chance to shake a finger at them, but they were too busy eating and passing food around to notice. -- COMMUTER IN VANCOUVER, WASH.
DEAR COMMUTER: According to the literature I have seen regarding the use of cell phones behind the wheel, the driver is as "impaired" as someone who has had three shots of alcohol. Not a happy thought. However, people driving on public roads using no hands and expecting a passenger to do the gear-shifting are beyond the pale -- a danger to themselves and others.