Nanny NTSB Urges Cellphone Ban In Cars


Remember: “It’s For Your Own Good. We Know What Is Best For You. We Are Your Betters.”

(Washington Post) The National Transportation Safety Board recommended Tuesday that all states and the District ban cellphone use behind the wheel, becoming the first federal agency to call for an outright prohibition on telephone conversations while driving.

Distracted driving, some of it due to cellphone use, contributed to an estimated 3,092 deaths in highway crashes last year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

So, only some of the deaths can be attributed to distracted driving. We should ban looking at scenery, since that is dangerous. And passengers. Listening to the radio. Drinking coffee. Eating. Brushing hair. Putting on makeup. Those mirrors that allow parents to look in the back. Kids. Oh, and CAFE standards, which increase the risk of death on the road.

The NTSB has no regulatory power, but

It would be up to state legislatures, which already have banned text messaging while driving in 35 states and the District, to decide whether cellphone use should be illegal. But in the past, Congress has not been shy about leveraging its control of the federal purse strings to bring states in line on issues such as seat belts and the legal drinking age.

“The NTSB recommendation may be a game-changer,” said Jonathan Adkins, spokesman for the Governors Highway Safety Association. “States aren’t ready to support a total ban yet, but this may start the discussion.”

A bunch of states ban texting/messaging in vehicles, which is, IMO, a good idea. People have their eyes off the road, two hands on the device. I spent well over a decade dealing with wireless devices, and I’m pretty darned good at sneaking a peek, but, I usually avoided any sort of messaging, including email, while driving. Many states also require the use of handsfree devices, which I have no problem with, since this keeps both hands free. I use a Bluetooth headset 98% of the time or so when in the car.

But, we shouldn’t ban the use of phones completely (one thing to note, the ban wouldn’t include emergency personnel). Los Federales could print a few good ideas for the use of electronic device use in vehicles, like

  • use a handsfree device
  • don’t stare at your GPS
  • don’t use the phone in traffic
  • avoid long and/or deep discussions
  • avoid heated discussions
  • can the call wait? Tell the person you’ll call them back

They could urge companies to put in place rules where employees are urged to stay off the phone while on the road, and won’t be in trouble if they do not answer calls from the bosses while on the road. Back at AT&T, that was the rule. There were many times when I didn’t answer when a superior was calling. But, they won’t. They’ll nag you and try and get Congress to pass some rules, or have the White House do it by executive fiat. It’s For Your Own Good.

Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach.

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