Cell phone driving bans

The NTSB has recommended a ban on all things to do with cell phone use, including hands-free devices, except in emergency situations:

The recommendation suggests going far beyond the current restrictions on texting and talking on the phone while driving to include outlawing the use of hands-free devices.

The five-member board of the NTSB made their decision after a 19-year-old driving his pickup truck near Gray Summit, MO, crashed into a school bus, which in turn ran over a smaller vehicle and crashed into another bus. The pickup driver and a 15-year-old aboard one of the buses were killed in the accident. Records show that the pickup driver had sent or received 11 text messages in the 11 minutes preceding the crash.

“Driving was not his only priority,” said NTSB chairman Deborah Hershman. “No call, no text, no update is worth a human life.”

This is a stupid basis for a recommendation. It’s an anecdote that can be equally countered with any other anecdote: I used to text and drive when I had a phone more convivial to single-hand use. I never once had an accident, nor did I ever come close to hitting anyone or anything. Bam, texting for all! Or not.

Moreover, this shitty anecdote only addresses texting. That involves looking away from the road frequently and/or for relatively extended periods of time. That is not what happened during a phone call.

I think if the interest here is safety, it can be generally achieved without inconveniencing too many people. Let’s outlaw the people who have the hardest time dealing with technology and driving. First, that means young people. While I know a lot of people will get behind this because they’re simply jealous of youth, the actual rational basis is that young people have limited driving experience. Ban those under 20. Second, anyone over 65 needs to have the phone taken out of their hands. Of course, not a lot of old people text, especially while driving, but plenty of them talk on the phone. Ever seen an old person try to deal with technology? It isn’t pretty. They have to focus more than people who have grown up in this modern age. They aren’t functioning at a fast pace. They can’t handle it. Factor in driving and it gets uglier. Ban ’em, I say.

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12 Responses

  1. We need not outlaw anything. There are already laws against reckless driving in every state, enforce those laws.

    This is over the top stupid like only the federal government can achieve. Not only would it ban texting if congress took their suggestion, it would ban all handheld electronic devices including hands free usage. The only exception would be factory installed hands free devices.

    The federal government should just mind their own business. The one thing we don’t need is more federal nosing about in traffic laws.

  2. Well, the NTSB doesn’t have any real power in this regard. It is only a recommendation, albeit an influential one.

    But I agree that these ban proposals are bad. People get around the texting by dangerously holding their phone lower, out of sight of police, and as I said in the opening post, not-too-young and not-too-old people can handle talking and driving at the same time.

  3. i don’t go along with your agism on this one. Old people are a high cause of accidents, but cell phone accidents are most prevalent among those in their mid 20’s, not among the old.

  4. That’s a matter of sheer volume, not ineptitude.

  5. Its sheer not paying attention to driving.

  6. I think texting itself should be banned. I also think though that siri will assist in the handsfree department. “Call _______” or text ______ and tell them that I am going to be ____________ and she will text them that really well!

  7. Hands free would also be illegal, if they were to enact that NTSB’s suggestion. The only way around it would be devices that were installed by the manufacturer.

    Utter foolishness. They need to start testing people better before letting them work in government.

  8. The brain processes sequentially, to suggest otherwise is either complete ignorance of biology or just plain ignorant. One cannot “multi-task.” Even a computer cannot multi-task, hence the need for multi-core processors for true multi-tasking capabilities. One cannot drive and text simultaneously. One can text/talk on the phone, drive, text/talk, drive etc.

    Of the three people who have smashed into my vehicle while using a phone, NONE were under 20 or over 65. So from a personal stand point I don’t see age discrimination as a viable solution either.

    “Distracted driving has little to do with technology in the first place; reading maps, drinking hot coffee, eating, checking the glove box for structural flaws, talking to your dead Aunt Louise and yes even masturbation can distract while driving.

    I of course, do not believe all these activities need a law banning them while driving. No, I think if you’re dumb enough to do anything aside from concentrating on the control of a TON of bone splintering steel while behind the wheel; well that is just evolution baby….culling the herd…

    If you’re so confident that age is the only differentiating factor here; I implore you, PERFORM A RIVER DANCE A TOP A RUNNING TABLE SAW WHILE TEXTING.

  9. If you do river dance over a running table saw, Michael, make sure someone gets a video.

  10. I prefer to text while your mom dances around the pole in the middle of the room, actually.

  11. That can’t be her. Carpel tunnel.

  12. Plus the whale tank at the aquarium doesn’t have a pole in it.

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