NTSB: Drivers should be prohibited from all wireless phone use
King5 News: Texting, emailing or using a cellphone while driving is simply too dangerous to be allowed anywhere, federal safety investigators declared Tuesday, recommending that all states impose a total ban except for emergencies.
Inspired by recent deadly crashes, the recommendation would apply even to hands-free devices, a much stricter rule than any current state law. Washington state has laws against texting while driving and against driving while using a cell phone without a hands-free device.
The unanimous recommendation by the five-member National Transportation Safety Board (NTBS) would make an exception for devices deemed to aid driver safety such as GPS navigation systems. Board chairman Deborah Hersman acknowledged the recommendation would be unpopular with many people and that complying would involve what has become ingrained behavior for many Americans.
While the NTSB doesn’t have the power to impose restrictions, its recommendations carry significant weight with federal regulators and congressional and state lawmakers. Another recommendation issued Tuesday urges states to aggressively enforce current bans on text messaging and the use of cellphones and other portable electronic devices while driving.
“We’re not here to win a popularity contest,” she said. “No email, no text, no update, no call is worth a human life.”
Currently, 35 states ban texting while driving and some bar cellphone use or emailing with hand-held devices. But enforcement is generally not a high priority, and no states ban the use of hands-free devices.
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We all know texting while driving is dangerous. So is drinking and driving. So is turning around while in the front seat to break up a kids fight in the back seat. Drivers have many distractions and are responsible for paying attention to the task at hand. And as a driver, you are responsible for paying close attention to other cars around you.
If “no call is worth a human life” is the basis for this recommendation, what about all the other car accidents that occur? No human life is worth someone looking down at the radio then slamming into another car? No human life is worth someone speeding, losing control, and crashing into another car? Shouldn’t we just ban cars altogether then?
There are folks that will ignore the driving while texting laws, possibly endangering many other drivers. Sure, there are consequences for reckless driving, but that is no comfort to those that lose loved ones in car accidents. When is the government going to realize you can’t regulate common sense?