US Considers Disabling Cell Phones in Cars



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Telephones are known to distract a considerable part of our attention while driving and it's not a bad thing to forbid their usage in cars. We advise our clients at the auto sales NH dealership not to talk on the phone while driving or, if they really have to, to use a hands free system. There are many accidents that can be avoided if we dedicate our full attention to driving.



I won't even try to argue wether or not talking on a cell phone while driving is safe.  However, since the number of people using cell phones has increased over the years - the number of accidents has actually gone DOWN.  So, how can cell phone conversations be causing accidents?  Those people causing accidents because they're distracted will continue to cause accidents, no matter what law we put in force.  These are the same people who think it's OK to put on makeup while driving, or read a map, or even the newspaper while driving.  As an Ex-Cop, I've never seen an accident caused by a cell phone; but the driver who wasn't paying attention to the operation of a vehicle they were supposed to be in control of.



Act like you are in a hospital paralized.  How important is a cell phone conversation worth to ya.  I'm willing to bet nobody would care about you and call the next person on there list.  I see this as a huge problem, bottom line is how much a human life is worth to ya.  My mom,brothers,sisters,fathers, and friends are worth more to me than a conversation.  There is nothing that important to talk about.  People use to think it was cool to drink and drive too...till someone killed alot of children on a school bus...Imagine waking up in the hospital to the news that your text/talking on a cell phone killed and changed 30+ innocent peoples lives....By the time your done with all the funerals I bet you would look at this thru a different prism....If you havent seen, at 2:04 on the video imagine you looking into a childs eyes and ask yourself again how important cellphones are.




Noone is disputing wether it is ok to use cell phones while driving. We shouldn't do it. But a technology like this wouldn't just stop the driver from using their phone, it would prevent passengers from using theirs. It would prevent any sort of data transmition including smartphone based gps or streaming music services. Its one thing to make laws that punish you for talking on your phone and driving, or not wearing a seat belt. It is another to jam all phone signals.



Anyone who supports this might as wall bend over and grab their ankles. This is complete police state/ nanny state bull shit. Yes its wrong to use it if your DRIVEING but what about passangers? What if theres an emergency and the device malfunction preventing you from making a call.


This is just disgusting on very many levels.



I am a FIRM beleaver that cell phones should not function (calling or texting) when the car is running.



So I'm not allowed to use my phone if I'm a passenger? That's just not right.



 What about blocking the signal while the car is in motion, requiring the vehicle to come to a full stop in order to use the Cell-enabled device? This could also be linked into a permit based system, padding the County and State coffers more by allowing people to test for the permission to use the devices while driving (allowing emergency personnel etc to do so).

 One other thought would be to allow public transit to *not* use these devices, possibly moving some of the traffic to those alternate methods of transportation. If I'm commuting an hour either in my car, or on a train - and on the train I could get work done or catch up on TV episodes.....

 I guess one of my pet peeves for a long time has been that society seems to have evolved into a place where driving a vehicle is not only expected, but also virtually demanded by many.

 Remember folks, driving is actually a Privilege, not a Right. It should be treated as such by the Law as well.



As someone who frequently needs to be on the phone while driving to/from work--this is a bad idea.  Now, I love my bluetooth, because aside from looking like a total douche it also lets me stay fully alert and functionally capable while driving.  Texting while driving is an incredibly stupid idea--one I've never taken up.

But look at things this way--he wants to stop texting while driving, and the state coffers could always use more green.  Fine people so much money that they just won't do it.  A $25 fine is a pat on the head.  Charge people $500 or more per violation and you'll get much better results.  Although the real danger, IMO, is just distracted drivers in general--people who couldn't pay attention to the road if they didn't even have a radio in the car.  Bad drivers will always be bad drivers.



I do not use my phone while driving at night or in populated or busy areas. 

There are some issues here 1, in a society where people ignore the screams of a rape victim I really don't want my ability to not dial 911 restricted. What if the person trying to call 911 just sees the accident and is a trained 1st responder? In this case they are trying to get to the scene to assess the situation, if this device were to be put in, they would have to call 911 with the device disabled and then observe the scene.

Now I am all for companies or parents deciding that the driver of a car they help pay to keep on the road should not use their cell phone while driving.

Beyond 911, can we really contain this to only blocking the car, of if I am right beside a car with the windows down will I lose some signal too. Is it any more dangerous to use a hands free device than to talk to a passenger? What about internet radio through the phone, like pandora, it needs a cell signal to work will that be prevented too?



I'm usually all about the government staying the hell out of my life. However, in this case, drivers on their phones are a danger to everyone else on the road as well. I used to ride my bike a lot and I had MANY close calls where some tunnel visioned driver talking on his/her cell phone would run me off the road. The worst part is that they usually didn't even know they did it. Instead of thinking "wow, I should be more careful" they just continue on not knowing that they were 2 feet away from killing me. Not only are they dangerous, they don't even know they're dangerous. It's insult to injury.

Also, there was a study awhile back showing those who text and drive are just as dangerous as drunk drivers. Their reaction times were about the same. DUI for texting and driving?



The reason why phone conversations are more distracting than a conversation with a person in the car is because the person on the other end of the phone can't see and react to the surroundings. If a driver is talking with a passenger and someone slams on the brakes in front of them, the passenger will react to the stimuli as well as the driver, usually by yelling "Hey watch out!". A passenger can also observe the surroundings and if you're driving on a bad stretch of road or through heavy traffic they will adjust the intensity of the conversation accordingly. The person on the other end of the phone doesn't know what the hell is going on around the driver and will continue to yak away while the driver has to split his or her attention between both the conversation and the road. 

With that in mind, it would almost seem that texting and driving would be preferable to having a phone conversation while driving given the right type of interface. The biggest problem with texting and driving is that the interface keeps the drivers head down too long into reading and writing the text. If there was a way to reduce heads-down time, say through the speech <-> text feature found on most Android phones, the reduced urgency to reply would result in a somewhat safer driving experience. The driver could get a text, have it read to them by the phone, and then speak a reply in at a time during the drive when there is a greatly reduced risk of accident. (A straight wide-open road with little to no surrounding traffic vs a curvy road or heavy traffic)

(note: I'm still not advocating texting while driving with current technology. Even with an Android phone, the interface still isn't where it needs to be in order to be considered as anything close to safe)



Cynical:  The person on the other end of the phone doesn't know what the hell is going on around the driver and will continue to yak away while the driver has to split his or her attention between both the conversation and the road.

The more I read that, the more I agree.  I think there's even more to the psychology involved in losing one's situational awareness while on a cell phone call, but I think you're really on to something.

Probably another critical component is the loss of non-verbal queues when on a phone call.  Without the ability to send and receive body language, I think much more effort is put into concentrating on the phone call, to make up for the missing piece.  If this is true (and let's be honest, it's pretty hard to dispute), doesn't this really make hands-free no less dangerous?

Why then, do you not get just as distracted when listening to talk radio?  You're also missing out on body language there, aren't you?  Yes, but it's not a dyadic conversation.  It's one way communication.  It just doesn't require the same level of involvement to participate.

'Gotta say, I sort of support the notion of not being able to use the phone while driving.  Exceptions could be made for 911, etc.  Everyone's going to say, "But this shouldn't apply to me... blah...blah...blah."  Personally, I'm willing to give up my cell phone in my car, if it'll help prevent some distracted slob from crashing their Excruciator or other senseless SUV into me or my loved ones.

Just my $0.02





A recent study found that only hearing one side of a cell phone conversation, such as those your car passengers would be having, is actually more distracting.

To quote the article on MSN: "Overhearing half of a verbal exchange, it turns out, is much more distracting than having to listen to a full conversation going on in the background.

"When we get less information, we're impaired," said psychologist Lauren Emberson of Cornell University in New York and lead author of the new study published in the journal Psychological Science."

Personally, I find the discussion very interesting and worth having.



Not only is the discussion worth having, it's downright necessary if we want to come up with intelligent solutions.

Of course, politics and sensibility are rarely bedfellows.  It's very easy for a politician to say, "We need to have a law requiring hands-free to make things safer."  They then follow that with the stance of "Look at me, I'm the for-safety politician."  If someone presses them for evidence to support their stance (which would take time and money, and maybe prove them wrong), they lob the, "You're anti-safety!" grenade.  This all makes me sick.

In any situation, I'd agree with the notion that you're more distracted by overhearing half a conversation, rather than the entire one.  There's one big caveat though.  This presupposes that you have any interest in that conversation in the first place.  Otherwise, its seems it'd be just meaningless background noise.

"When we get less information, we're impaired."  So simple and seemingly obvious, yet so very profound with significant implications in the context of cell phone calls.




What is the affected area of these disabling technologies?  This would only make sense if you can disable in the driver zone only.  This would still allow hands free with dash-mounts.

Other than not having your hands on anything else but the controls for the vehicle and your eyes on the road, we've been dealing with audible distractions since man started trekking (on foot, by animal, or by vehicle).  Those we can handle.  Folks that can't should not drive, period.

If its not driver zone only, you just can't go restricting passengers.



Technology can not stop stupid people from being stupid. They will find a wayaround your technological blocks.

A heavy fine for driving distracted would do the trick. It also should treated the same as DUI.



Instead of blocking signals, why don't they just step up enforcement?



he's an unelected, federal official, who is not a judge. Where does he draw his power from again?



excellent question



I have witnessed far too many people completely forgetting that they are driving a car due to cell phone use.  While it seems harmless, their poor situational awareness is a potential danger to everyone around them.  I am all for safer driving, and people actually paying attention to what they are doing, which when behind the wheel, should be driving.  Let's not forget that driving in the US is a privilege, not a right.

As for other remarks made:

Generally, after being involved in a car accident, people turn their cars off if possible, so I don't really see that being an issue.

We drove our cars for over 50 years without having the ability to be contacted in case of an emergency (while driving).  I think we can manage not knowing until we get to where ever we are going to.  If you were concerned about something then, you simply pulled over, stopped your car and used a pay phone.  I think pulling over, stopping your car and using your cell phone should suffice.  I would prefer that to the person running into me while updating their Facebook status.

GPS uses the 1,227 - 1,575 MHz frequency spectrum.  Sirius/XM radio uses the 2,320 - 2,345 MHz frequency spectrum.  Neither are used by cell phones, so blocking cell phone ranges should have no effect on either.



You forget that currently you have to have a live data connection for google maps to work, so if you block the phone network your google maps would not work. 



This will be a great feature for when I'm in a car accident, don't have OnStar, and need to call 911.  It'll function awesomely!



Even if you get into a car accident it will be more than likely at where theres other people around to call 911 if you cant. Where are you going get into a car accident? In the desert?



Out here in Colorado you can run off the road and not have anybody drive by for a week. You would hope that their "disablers" would not funtion when the car was turned off.



this is one of the dumber things i've heard in the debate on texting and driving.

I agree with the comment below about the "cone of silence." there are a lot more distractions than just texting when  you're driving, and if you disable phones in cars, i think the government is overstepping their bounds.



While I agree that there are a lot of other distractions, texting&driving really is about the worst.  There's few other distractions that are so ubiquitous and so, umm... distracting.

California's hands-free law is just downright silly.  It really misses the point.  The telephone conversation itself is the distraction.  Don't believe me?  How many times have you seen people at the grocery store, on hands-free, that have such extreme tunnel-vision that they're practically on another planet?  So many people just tune out when they're on the phone.  The use of a handheld device is only ancillary to the problem.

Why doesn't listening to the radio or having a conversation with a passenget result in the same distraction?  It's surprising that there isn't yet a preponderance of evidence that tells us just what the fuck is going on when folks are on the phone.

Cell phones and cars are, largely, a bad mix.  Everyone will say, "Not for me, though.  I can handle both.  I'm the master of multitask."  Yeah, sure.  And your shit doesn't stink.  And the check is in the mail.  And I won't come in your mouth...

Doing anything extreme at this point would be premature.  We really need to do some more research to come up with the right solution.  Perhaps car speakerphones are less distracting than bluetooth headsets.  Maybe it has something to do with putting the concentration on just one ear.  Perhaps the texting issue can be resolved with speech recognition and heads-up displays.  More research needs to be done to determine the correct solution.



Talcum X

I would say let the dumb kill themselves.  Thin out the hurd.

But really, education for the stupid is all that really needs to happen.  It's like drinking and driving and anything else that you could do stupid while doing someting reletively dangerous.



If the dumb people just killed themselves while doing stupid things, I'd be all for it.  But, 9 out of 10 times, they injure or kill someone else too, because their car slams into something else because it's moving.



I say because if someone is trying to calling me of an emergency, I don't want to have to wait to pull the car over (and in some places it's not possible) and have to call them back or answer the phone. Texting, on the other hand, should be blocked. I've seen it cause more issues than actually talking on the phone while driving (other than people magically turn retarded while driving at least in this state).


Talcum X

A firewall in your car, turn off whatever "port" the texting protocal works on.  LOL



Never said it would work xD



So then should we expect the radio buttons to stop working while the car is in motion? How about adding a cone of silence to the driver's seat to stop distracting conversations with others in the car? I know, I know, a device like they had in A Clockwork Orange that forces your eyes open so you can't even blink (don't want to miss out on something, right?)

Seriously, is this guy retarded or something?



Most cars with factory GPS already prevent you from entering gps information or changing a lot of radio settings while the car is in motion. You are still able to change the channel and the volumel, but most of the other features are disabled until you come to a complete stop.

Not that I agree with with this idea, but it wouldn't surprise me if we see the day where you are only able to adjust volume and seek radio stations using steering wheel mounted controls and all controls on the radio face are locked out while the vehicle is in motion.


Zachary K.

i better not lose my pandora radio on my iphone while driving.

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