[Guest post by DRJ]
There are many opinions about proper cell phone etiquette.
For instance, schools usually require students to turn off their cell phones during class. In addition, most pharmacies and doctor’s offices in my town have posted signs that they will not talk to patients about health care matters while patients use their cell phones. It’s surprising how upset some people get when they see that sign and have to turn off their phones.
You can almost always tell when drivers are on the phone because of the way they drive or the way their heads are tilted as they hold the phone to their ear … or the presence of an earphone and the fact they are talking with no one else around.
When it comes to driving and airline travel, however, cell phone use is more than a question of etiquette. For instance, Federal Aviation Administration regulations bar cell phone use on planes because it could interfere with the flight’s navigation system, and airlines can be fined up to $25,000 for allowing the use of cell phones during flights.
Fifty-year-old Joe David Jones, president of Austin environmental technology company Skyonic Corp., has direct experience with this FAA rule. Jones was cited for disorderly conduct because he refused to disconnect his cell phone during a recent Southwest Airlines flight:
“Jones had forgotten to turn off his phone during takeoff and received the message about his father as the plane moved closer to Dallas, said Mark Clayton, Skyonic’s vice president of corporate relations.
“His father’s heart had stopped,” Clayton said. “The cardiac unit requested a call immediately to discuss decisions regarding his father’s immediate care. “So Mr. Jones attempted to call them back. And it took several tries.”
“He expresses regret for the inconvenience that it caused the airline and its passengers, but he felt compelled because of the life and death nature of it to make that call.”
According to a police report, Jones was on his cell phone for about 20 minutes at the end of the flight. The report said Jones, when asked to turn his phone off, responded with an obscenity.”
Jones’ father may have been in a dire medical situation but he was in the care of physicians, so it’s hard for me to understand why Jones was unable to communicate his problem to the flight crew and request assistance with emergency communications. My guess is he just didn’t care that his cell phone was a problem for someone else.