NTSB Unanimously Approves Proposed Cell Phone Ban for Drivers

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Stickittotheman

If your going to ban cell phone use, you might as well do it the right way and ban everything that would distract a driver from keeping his or her eyes from the road.  Radios, GPS's, turning on the heat or air conditioning, drinking a soda, smoking a cigarette, having a snack or even looking through your rear view mirror are all examples of distractions. Take everything out a vehicle and you still will have stupid drivers making stupid mistakes that cause accidents. 

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znod

I think a line would have to be drawn between self-indiuced distrations that (1) are, and (2) are not, likely to lead to harm to others. That's what I was getting at in my prior post, but did not express clearly for lack of space to provide sufficient examples and discussion. I put cell phone usage, when one's hands are involved, in class (1). I put voice activated hands free cell phone usage in class (2). And, I maintain that many, many very skilled (and not stupid) drivers cause many, many accidents.  

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bling581

Cause it would never happen, but something tragic happens like that bus getting hit and some government official or politican goes off about cell phones being bad and spreads the hype. I see plenty of people reading newspapers, looking at GPS, applying make up, eating, watching in-dash movies, messing with the radio, smoking, and so on. Most of those things aren't going to ever be made illegal so they focus on one thing that can and beat it to death until we believe it's a problem.

Now I'm not talking about texting because I agree that's a problem, but there's nothing wrong with using hands free phones or taking a call from someone. If someone calls me and the traffic is heavy and I can't focus on driving I tell them I'll call them back or pull over. Some people are just stupid and taking away their phones isn't going to make them any smarter. I just saw someone today who didn't have enough sense to pull over to look at his map and was driving 10 mph under the limit, backing up traffic behind him.

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znod

I advocate having a very significant penalty for driving in the presence of any personally induced distraction that might lead to harming others. This idea covers a lot more than just using a cell phone, and to clarify all the possibilities would take a great deal more room than is available here.  I think that reckless endangerment (or the equivalent) is the appropriate penalty--which is a felony in most, if not all, jurisdictions. A typical example of reckless endangerment is firing a rifle when the shooter does not know what lies along the line of fire whether visible to the eye or not. Reckless endangerment covers circumstances where an unforeseen victim is injured because of the actor's irresponsible behavior (e.g., driving while using a cell phone in one hand). Laws are not based on how well someone does something. For example, even an excellent driver may be so distracted by texting that he or she may not be able to adjust to unforeseen circumstances and, thus, may injure others severely. Under the law, you can't abrogate responsibility for your actions just because you are very good at something in general. 

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philipa25

That is today's US for you, everything needs to be set to the lowest standard.  Someone can't drive?  Punish everyone!  It's sad that you take one test when you are not even old enough to vote and you are good to drive for life.  Sorry, but most people I see on the road can't drive even if they are not dealing with any kind of device.  There should be a law against texting and talking without a hands-free.  My car automatically puts calls through the car speakers, is that really anymore distracting than listening to music?

 

The problem is that we are no longer allowed to admit that some people are stupid.  Or bad at things.  Everyone needs to get a trophy, right?  Of course everyone needs to be punished for one person's idiotcy, because it has to be everyone else's fault and they might be offended if you tell them the truth.  That and the problem is that these idiots are the ones getting elected to office.

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bling581

That's politics for you. Find something you can blow out of proportion to make it look like you're doing some good. Create idiotic laws that hurt more people than they benefit and ignore some of the more important issues at hand. Yep, that's the U.S.

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sarkli

Well if the idiot citizens werent such hazards on the road while using a cell phone for anything, then the bigger idiot law makers wouldnt have to go to such extremes. You are what your ruled by.

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JohnP

After having driven close to a 3/4 of a million miles working for HP repair, I can definitely tell you that talking on the phone, hands free or not, is BAD for my driving. I have never hit anyone or had an accident but my driving really suffered when I was on the phone, esp when doing troubleshooting or other intellectual tasks.

 Now that I am retired, the damn GPS is my latest "accident waiting to happen".

 My son and I get into these amazing conversations when we are driving together that I completely miss exits even when the GPS is nagging away. So just talking to the person next to you can be distracting.

No, there is no safe way to do other stuff besides driving for me and I have never been in a serious accident or have ever gotten a ticket in 40 years of driving. Eventually the law of averages will catch up (or old age) and I will barrel into someone when fooling around with the GPS or on my cell phone (illegally).

At least I am honest enough to myself to admit that I cannot do a lot of stuff when driving without being a danger to others.

PS other things to worry about when I used to to smoke, nothing like grabbing a pack and "lighting up" to distract you. Funny thing is that eating and drinking never seemed to be an issue as long as I went slow and deliberate while munching and had everything laid out before I drove off.

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Archtard

double post

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Archtard

There are approximately 40,000 car accident related deaths per year. Surprisingly the death toll from the flu is about the same. So if the government is going to play the nanny role they should also have federal agents making sure we wash our hands, use hand sanitizer on a regular basis, and maintain good personal hygene.

Is texting while driving a bad idea? Sure, but do we need the government to out law every dumb action that people do? Speeding is also illegal, but it still kills more people every year than distracted drivers, and I do not know anyone who never breaks the speed limit.

If this becomes law it will be just another law passed just to make people "feel" safer, and make the gov. appear to be actually interested in protecting us plebs.

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sarkli

Double posted.. yay for broken links!

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sarkli

About 10years over due. And like it has been said amidst these posts of angry trollers, its not bad in rurals areas but in cities its awful. Ive seen accidents due to texting, ive been run off the road by people on cell phones both talking and texting and if you dont drive defensively your s.o.l. Im tired of it and would like to see this become a reality. All you ragers can just learn to either pull over or wait because unless its an emergency NOTHING is that important. 

I would like to see laws passed that requires anyone who drives a certain size vehicle(bigger than a basic 7pass Van, 5 pass sedan, 5pass small suv) to take a special drivers test where they to drive around a busy area of town and parrallel park. I dont care if you feel 'safe' your a damn hazard to everyone else on the road, at least most of you are.

Also a traffic law requiring people from age 70+ to have to take a drivers test every 2 years to determine whether they are still suitable drivers or not and then the state pay for better public transportation. 

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JohnP

Yeah, that "over 70" rule would have been a lifesaver to my Mom. 82 and always a terrible driver, she drove in front of a pickup truck doing 60 in front of her house. Killed her on the spot. If her license had been taken away, she would have moved into a house nearer town and been a hell of a lot safer.

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rawrnomnom

The argument is a classic gun law argument. Guns don't kill people, people kill people. Cellphones don't make responsible drivers into poor drivers, poor drivers are just poor drivers. How many people have stupid accidents where phones aren't involved? Texting and driving?Kind of dangerous, especially with a touch screenphone, but i have a handset with an old school 12 key pad. i can text with one hand, never looking at my phone. How is reading a short text any different from reading a road sign? They both require you divert your attention from the road for a fraction of a second. Banning talking on the phone is equally stupid, but the problem is that stupid people will contine to do stupid things, and passing laws won't change that, just generate revinue for the state when people break said law. 

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kixofmyg0t

Also dont forget that "operating a motor vehicle" means sitting inside it with the keys in the ignition. Doesnt even have to be running. 

 

So if im sitting in my driveway, or a parking lot or stopped at a stoplight and I look down at my phone just to check the time I am breaking the law and am a "bad driver". 

 

What the fluck ever. 

If Im driving and my phone rings and I look at it Im breaking the law. If i change songs on my iPod Im breaking the law. If I even hit the ignore call button Im STILL breaking the law. Im sorry but if Im driving and one of my soldiers, or my wife or daughter calls me its for a good god damn reason(though my wife and daughter knows to just call my car instead...thank you OnStar) and Im gonna answer my phone. You can claim Im a "bad driver" all you want and you can go straight to hell. I spent many years driving in Korea, Germany, Iraq and Afghanistan....all of those places are MUCH MUCH worse places to drive than the nice cushy surburbia of the US. The problem isnt cell phones. The problem is people that cant walk and chew gum at the same time are allowed to drive. 

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Pball1224

"The problem is people that cant walk and chew gum at the same time are allowed to drive." I love this statement!

So true, our driver tests are a joke! Then the moment you get your license you're never checked again, and can forget or disregard whatever rules you want, and obviously never learn anything that's new.

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nforce

They have this in Ontario, Canada and since they put the LAW into infect there has been more accidents, involving cell phones. Cause the same people who use them now, will still use it when they ban them. But now they hide the cell phone on their lap which means there looking down. Instead of having the phone by the wheel, where they could keep one eye on the road while texting. Also we have more people darting across the road and slamming on their breaks, so they can pull off to the side of the road just to answer the phone. This cause more evens more accidents.

 

THE LAW IS USELESS AND CAUSE EVEN MORE ACCIDENTS!!

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poxopas

You're right that the Ontario law is useless, but it is different than the proposed law in the article (not to mention the govenrment did not put any thought into the Ontario law, so there are lots of ways to work around it). The Ontario law is only a ban on hand-held devices, so you can still use a hands-free set and talk as long as the phone isn't in your hands. As anyone who has researched the issue can say, the danger from using cellphones while driving isn't because you're holding it in your hand, it's because your attention is divided between talking and driving. This also makes the law harder to enforce since, as you say, someone can simply put the phone in their lap and keep glancing at it. The only good thing about the Ontario law is that in theory it stops texting and driving, but like you say some people just pull off to the side of the road to do it. A complete ban on mobile devices while driving would be much more effective so long as it is enforced.

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bling581

So what about the people that are doing it the right way and use hands free sets in the car? What about voice recognition? I perfectly agree with no texting while driving (unless it's via voice recognition) but banning cell phone use is idiotic. What happens if someone needs to be reached in an emergency? Where I live it's pretty hard to find a pay phone anymore, so how do you reach someone when you're on the road?

Something tragic happens so people start freaking out and create a bunch of hype and idiotic laws rather than taking a realistic look at the situation. Pretty soon they'll have devices in every vehicle that blocks cell phone signals while the car is in motion. That would just punish everyone including passengers.

People that are texting while driving or messing with their phone just have bad habits to begin with and are bad drivers. Do you think that taking away the phone is really going to change their habits and get them to pay better attention?

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Wareagle

In rural areas, driving on the phone is not a big deal because a lot of the roads are sparse and there are a lot of 2-lane highways.  However, in, say, California, cars frequently go over the speed limit, tailgate each other, and fill every lane to the brim.  So I think a ban would make sense in some places more than others.

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titan8813

As much as I hate big brother swooping in and telling us what we can and can't do, I am actually in support of this.  Same with smoking bans.  Yes, I know, slippery slope and all.  And maybe the unintendended consequence will be greater than the benefit brought by these bans.  It just makes good old fashioned sense to me.

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Pball1224

While I agree that texting and driving should be illegal in all 50 states, it simply takes your eyes and concentration off the road for too long, however, I strongly disagree with talking and driving bans.

I fully believe that it is the conversation, not the use of a phone, that is the distraction, and this is just as likely to happen with someone in the car as it is with someone on the phone. This is why I think the laws requiring the use of a hands free kit are the most ridiculous thing ever. Holding the phone to your ear is not what is distracting, so the hands free kit solves nothing.

It's all about prioritizing sensory input I think. I sometimes will ignore what is being said by someone on the phone for a moment while dealing with a traffic situation, road hazard, or even a tricky intersection, then ask the caller to repeat themselves. For me, this happens without even thinking about it.

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maseone

Can't disagree more.  When a phone is being held up to a driver's ear, most drivers are more reluctant to look towards the direction they are holding the phone.  Even in California where hands free / bluetooth is required, you will still see drivers (including police!?!) moving into the next right lane with a phone held up to their right ear, and they make a minor attempt at looking, but do not look all the way because of the phone held to their ear coupled with the important conversation they are having - and if you're the unlucky driver to the right of them you better be paying attention.

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bloodgain

That's more or less my sentiment on this. If we're going to ban talking on the phone while driving (even hands-free), then we're going to need to have elementary school-style "quiet time" rules in the car. An in-car conversation is easily as distracting as a phone conversation -- even more distracting when there are multiple passengers. I think the people who can't handle talking and driving are just bad drivers, and there's not much we can do about that without more stringent driver testing standards.

I will say, however, that placing a call (and even answering with some phones) can be a visual distraction similar to using a GPS while in motion or fiddling with your music player. It still isn't as distracting as text messages, though, which require deeper attention to read and understand. I usually wait for a red light or an empty straightaway to place any calls, and even then I use the voice features to do it.

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Ashton2091

I am half hearted here. Actually, the original article states that this also bans bluetooth. I don't agree with this. Also the original article states that NTSB is also urging manufacturers to find a way to disable phones in reach of the driver while moving. Not sure what that means.  Will there be a way to distinguish the driver from the passenger?  If so, this would also likely mean that car makers will have to install devices that detect the presence of a cellphone near the drivers side. I kinda like the idea, but there are too many holes in it. I'm sure that some of the accidents also have a lot to do with bad driving couples with cellphone use. Not to say that good drivers also don't get into accidents due to cellphone use. I suspect that the rate is higher with bad drivers though. A deeper study needs to be carried out. Examining one Pile up in Gray Summit, Mo. will not fix this.  Legal driving age also needs to be revisited as well as many other issues.

The entire article here:

http://usnews.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/12/13/9418504-us-calls-for-ban-on-in-car-phone-use-even-with-bluetooth?ocid=ansmsnbc11

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maseone

Agreed on the bluetooth bit.  I mean, should we also ban talking while driving?  It seems hands-free bluetooth is an equivelant to talking with a passenger in the car.  I can see it now, DOT approved driving muzzles.

As a side note, those 15 states that have not passed mobile communication laws - they are the states that allow fully tinted windows.  Why waste tax payer money passing a law that is uninforcable.

 

m1

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Ashton2091

lmao....DOT approved driving muzzles.

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Ashton2091

also the ban would allow 911 in case of emergency...but what if its not exactly an emergency but something of extreme importance that you don't need 911 but have to handle yourself? Stranded family member. Baby sitter needs to contact you, the list goes on. How about going out of state? Road trip? Anything can happen while you're away from home. So you're supposed to only use your phone at rest stops?

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Sorian

While I do like that this is going to happen, I do have a problem with how they might try and enforce it.

They are suggesting (at least till it becomes a law) that the manufacturers of cell phones create an app that will turn off the mobile radios while the car is moving. How will this said app know if you are the driver or a passanger? Will it have a popup that you must answer if you want to be able to use your phone while on a bus/carpooling/taxi/etc.? If is it said popup, how many people will be honest?

At best all they can do is if you are caught using your cell phone, you get a fine, otherwise who would know you are or not?

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Captain_Steve

35 states have banned texting and driving? What the gentle caress is the deal with the other 15?

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maseone

haha, that's fucking awesome!

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maseone

oops, thought the system was going to translate the word "fucking" into the words "gentle caress".  less awesome.  lol

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aknolidge

I couldn't agree more. You dont know how piss it gets me when some douche tries to cut you off without looking cause they either texting or talking on the phone. Makes me want to get a front bumper guard and ram it full throttle up their asses lol

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US_Ranger

It's even scarier on a motorcycle. Most of the time they don't even know that they damn near killed you because they're still too busy texting.

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ABouman

I'll second that.

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AnUnknownSource

This should have been signed into actual law LONG ago.

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big_montana

Sorry, but this should be up to each individual state and voted by each citizen of said state. This law bans handsfree devices too, which would make my Onstar illegal, and by my interpretation, GPS also. I never use my cell while driving, but I do have a need for GPS and Onstar as I work in IT and drive over 1,000 mile a week, so I make frequent use of my Onstar operator to get me from point A to point B to point C and back again. Now this will be illegal?

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Digital-Storm

You are another sad case of "Read the first line, skip the rest."

It was stated that GPS would not be included.

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gene8

When the article said that GPS would not be included, it was referring only to GPS devices themselves. But since many smartphones have GPS built into them, that means that the use of GPS on the phones will also be banned as well. So big_montana is partly right about GPS.

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