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Ear to the Ground

Federal Agency Wants to Ban Texting, Talking While Driving

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Posted on Dec 13, 2011
Flickr / Lord Jim (CC-BY)

Big no-no: This kind of thing might be banned in various states if the NTSB gets its way.

You there, with the surreptitious driving-while-texting action and also you, with the hands-free gadgetry on your head—take heed. The National Transportation Safety Board, an independent agency that traffics in such matters, wants you both to hang it up.

The federal board issued a recommendation Tuesday to ban all cellphone use by drivers, including the kind that does allow for relatively unhindered vehicular maneuvering, but it’s up to individual states to decide if they’re on board with that plan.

The New York Times:

The National Transportation Safety Board said on Tuesday that it had voted to recommend the ban on the use of mobile devices by drivers, citing what it said were the risks of distracted driving.

The recommended ban applies to hands-free devices, a recommendation that goes farther than any state law to date. The agency said it is recommending that drivers be allowed to use their phones for emergency purposes.

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By alton grimes, December 14, 2011 at 10:17 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I am a limousine driver in the greater Los Angeles
area and I have become acutely aware that both texting
or talking on your cell phone while driving greatly
diminishes ones ability to properly concentrate on the
road. However, a so called “hands free” device is
clearly a safe and responsible solution.

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Queenie's avatar

By Queenie, December 13, 2011 at 2:29 pm Link to this comment

Cellphone use is like masturbating in public.

Masturbating in public won’t give you brain cancer.

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By Paul Brooke, December 13, 2011 at 2:14 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Use of cell phones while driving in Europe is illegal. Think about it; a driver is operating about a ton or a ton-and-a-half of solid object going down the road at 40 to 60 miles an hour. The drivers focus needs to be completely on their driving. I’ve seen drivers fully engaged in a cell phone conversation with minimum attention given to driving.We’ve all seen them; yakking away while doing 45 in a 60MPH zone. The NTSB reports that “only” 32,000 people were killed in cars last year.“Only?” We mourn 3,000 dead in the World Trade Center and 5,000 dead soldiers in Iraq and Afganistan, but describe highway deaths in terms of “only.” I guess we have to wait until several celebrities or politicians are killed by distracted drivers before a law is enacted.

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mrfreeze's avatar

By mrfreeze, December 13, 2011 at 2:03 pm Link to this comment

Last year WA State started to enforce the no phone/texting law. I’m not sure how many drivers have actually been cited; however, I can tell you this: The amount of idiotic, reckless and incredibly dangerous driving has gone down considerably. I can see it myself on the road. AND, almost without exception, every time I witness bad driving, low-and-behold, the driver is talking on a cell phone.

This law has been a good thing. I’m not sure the federal government will help all that much but banning hand-held phone use in cars is important.

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By Bacilo de Koch, December 13, 2011 at 1:57 pm Link to this comment

This is already against the law in many states, but there is no enforcement!

I myself just yell at drivers I see texting.  Which of course, distracts me from
driving.

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Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, December 13, 2011 at 1:39 pm Link to this comment

It has been known for several years that driving while using a cell phone is about as risky as driving while solidly drunk.  I assume the legislatures of the several states are unwilling to pass laws against it for a complex of reasons:

1.  Many politicians and bureaucrats like to use their cell phones while driving and wish to continue to do so.

2.  The companies profiting from cell phones swing more weight than companies profiting from liquor or, much further down the list, ordinary people who might profit from less dangerous road conditions

3.  Cell phone use does not excite the numerous Puritans among us the way boozing does; since it is not as blameworthy as cohabitation with the Demon Rum, there is less motivation to restrict it.

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