Q I saw the article the other day about a medical helicopter crash in Missouri two years ago where it was determined that the pilot was texting. He and three others, including a patient, were killed. And, as it turns out, he was texting about dinner plans. Tragic, yes. If people with training can't avoid crashing, what makes the general population think they can do any better when texting? ... I hope you find this story as horrifying as I do.

Chuck Martin and Jay Jeffries

A I do. Unfortunately, this isn't the first time texting has led to a major disaster. Five years ago a train engineer was texting just before a Metrolink commuter train from Los Angeles to Oxnard collided with a freight train, killing 25. The engineer either sent or received 12 texts before the crash and skipped a red light.

I have been amazed the past two weeks at the number of drivers I've spotted texting or holding a phone despite the statewide crackdown during April. Here's a tale out of Santa Cruz.

A few days ago, a CHP officer spotted a motorcyclist approaching him in the opposite direction talking on a handheld cellphone along 40th Avenue. During the stop, the officer found multiple small bags of cocaine and methamphetamine in the pockets of Adrian Yanez-Garcia, who was booked on three felony possession charges.

Q A California appellate court recently reinforced what Roadshow has been telling us since the hands-free cell law was passed. We cannot touch our phone to use the navigation system, games, etc. But, are we OK still touching the phone to call people, or do we need to use voice dialing on the phone?

Tom Lee

A Police say it is legal to dial a number on a handheld cellphone, but they have said for years that it is not OK to hold a phone to check for directions. One would not be cited under the hands-free law, but could be ticketed for distracted driving.

Q I was waiting at the Bunker Road tunnel in Marin County, where there is a one-way tunnel red light. I was the third car in a long line at the light waiting for opposing traffic to leave. I put my car in park, as it takes a while, and picked up my smartphone to change a song in my music player. A ranger patrol car pulls up next to me and says I should not be texting. I politely said I was not texting.

The officer rudely says "if I keep up that attitude" he would ticket me -- but he didn't.

I am confused. Was I doing anything illegal? Can we not even change what music is playing?

Hari Raja

Fremont

A Art-the-CHP-Man says it is OK to activate the music function on your telephone. Then he added:

"Now, why he shouldn't do it. I've observed people that manipulate their phones at stoplights and get so into their phone that they don't realize the light has turned green, therefore missing the light completely while there are other vehicles behind them or, which is worse, sometimes accelerating at the very last second and barely making the light themselves, causing other drivers to miss the light and upsetting them. This typically escalates the situation to other vehicles trying to make the light, running a red light or even road rage.

"So like we always say, use common sense, pay attention and don't get distracted while driving."

Q I've noticed a similarity in most of the shame stories you print about drivers with cellphones -- the words "looking down." Why? Because being seen holding a cellphone is an easy ticket for a cop to write. But it is absurd that checking a paper map at a stoplight is legal, but illegal if on a phone. A person pushing buttons on the car radio to listen to music is innocent, while a person pushing buttons on a cellphone to listen to voice mail is guilty.

We need a sensible law that doesn't make reckless drivers even more reckless and safe drivers into criminals.

Henry Ruddle

San Jose

A Judging by my email inbox, many agree with you.

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