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NTSB Recommends Cell Phone Ban For Drivers

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the text-your-disapproval-from-behind-the-wheel dept.

Cellphones 938

ducomputergeek writes "According to this AP report, the National Transportation Safety Board says 'States should ban all driver use of cell phones and other portable electronic devices, except in emergencies.' 'The recommendation, unanimously agreed to by the five-member board, applies to both hands-free and hand-held phones and significantly exceeds any existing state laws restricting texting and cellphone use behind the wheel.' So what about all the cars today that come with built-in computers, navigation, internet capabilities, and cell phones?"

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938 comments

Good! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38359102)

We're one step closer to a (very) short range cell phone jammer in cars that jam all cell phone signals inside the car whenever the car is moving at, say, more than 10mph.

Re:Good! (5, Insightful)

TFoo (678732) | more than 2 years ago | (#38359136)

You're right, because no passengers should be allowed to talk on the phone either....

Re:Good! (1, Troll)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#38359214)

Giving the driver the opportunity to pull over and answer a call would also be unacceptable.

Re:Good! (5, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38359572)

Giving the driver the opportunity to pull over and answer a call would also be unacceptable.

Reminds me of the difference between Reasons and Excuse. Humans are, beyond the use of mere tools, distinguished from animals by their ability to rationalise.

Reason: "I was unable to avoid hitting the car in front of me because they suddenly pulled into my lane and slammed on their brakes."

Excuse: "I was unable to avoid hitting the car [I had been following for the past mile] because they suddenly hit their brakes [which I didn't see, because I was in a conversation on my phone] and stopped too fast for me to react."

See the difference? One beyond means to avoid, one within means to avoid. People talk to LEOs, after accidents, like these two are interchangeable.

Re:Good! (3, Interesting)

deains (1726012) | more than 2 years ago | (#38359604)

And not to mention, allowing anyone within three feet of a vehicle to contact the emergency services would be simply absurd.

Re:Good! (4, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38359244)

We're one step closer to a (very) short range cell phone jammer in cars that jam all cell phone signals inside the car whenever the car is moving at, say, more than 10mph.

Tried to buy one of these, years ago. They're banned. Every time a site pops up selling them assembled or in kit, they vanish shortly afterward. Some funny old FCC thing baring them.

Probably more likely to cause an accident anyway, as the driver on the phone looks at their phone which has lost connection and/or attempts to redial, when they should be watching the road ahead.

I hear so many anecdotal stories about how drivers are perfectly functional and alert when driving and blathering (about what urgent matter, exactly?), but most accidents I see a driver was distracted. Even seen a three vehicle accident in bumper-to-bumper crawl, where the two following drivers were clearly not paying attention.

Banned in California, but I still see a lot of drivers with that slab of plastic pressed to the side of their head as they go down the road. Fines not high enough? Insurance not high enough? Maybe when they put cameras on overpasses to photograph the offending drivers and mail them the tickets. (We already have cameras on intersections for red-light runners.)

Re:Good! (1)

AdamJS (2466928) | more than 2 years ago | (#38359400)

You can already make such a system. There are tons of sites for importing short-range jammers, and from there it's just a matter of hooking it up to a speedometer system.

Re:Good! (2)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38359598)

You can already make such a system. There are tons of sites for importing short-range jammers, and from there it's just a matter of hooking it up to a speedometer system.

And not using it all the time so you get caught. The fine for using such a device is rather high.

Great idea! (1, Insightful)

Superdarion (1286310) | more than 2 years ago | (#38359108)

Let's also ban talking to your passengers and thinking about food while you drive.

Re:Great idea! (1, Insightful)

raydobbs (99133) | more than 2 years ago | (#38359166)

...or listening to the radio, needing to use the bathroom, or being an asshole in the near vicinity of a car. Of course, this -really- punishes those who have always used hands-free technologies, used their phones responsibly, and drive safely every day. They HAVE to be a problem - because the NTSB says so...

Re:Great idea! (4, Interesting)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38359296)

...or listening to the radio, needing to use the bathroom, or being an asshole in the near vicinity of a car. Of course, this -really- punishes those who have always used hands-free technologies, used their phones responsibly, and drive safely every day. They HAVE to be a problem - because the NTSB says so...

Fines aren't high enough. Make them proportional to income, like they do in Germany. Ha! Imagine Bill Gates III going down I-5 on his phone while at the wheel and receiving a fine for $10 Billion.

Re:Great idea! (1)

masternerdguy (2468142) | more than 2 years ago | (#38359554)

We also need mandatory minimal sentences of 25 to life in max security prisons. That will show those distracted drivers.

Re:Great idea! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38359588)

Fines aren't high enough. Make them proportional to income, like they do in Germany. Ha! Imagine Bill Gates III going down I-5 on his phone while at the wheel and receiving a fine for $10 Billion.

FYI, that only applies to fines ordered by a court. Fines for speeding and stuff like that are fixed and independent of income.

Re:Great idea! (2)

masternerdguy (2468142) | more than 2 years ago | (#38359624)

Fines aren't high enough. Make them proportional to income, like they do in Germany. Ha! Imagine Bill Gates III going down I-5 on his phone while at the wheel and receiving a fine for $10 Billion.

The real question is what kind of smartphone is BGIII using?

Re:Great idea! (4, Informative)

brainzach (2032950) | more than 2 years ago | (#38359506)

Studies show that talking on a hands free cell phone is about the same dangerous as holding one in your hand.

Re:Great idea! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38359204)

Research has shown that, for most people, talking on cell phones is far more distracting than those other activities. Let's follow the science: if good science says it's dangerous, then let's take the appropriate action.

Re:Great idea! (2, Insightful)

mellon (7048) | more than 2 years ago | (#38359314)

Yes, but is it in fact, as you say, "good science?" I'm pretty skeptical.

Re:Great idea! (4, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#38359330)

Research has shown that, for most people, talking on cell phones is far more distracting than those other activities. Let's follow the science: if good science says it's dangerous, then let's take the appropriate action.

Good science should be pretty easy. How much did accident rates drop when cellphone bans were imposed?

Oddly, I hear a lot about the evils of cellphone use while driving, but I've never seen a story about how many fewer accidents there are now cellphone use has been banned.

I don't have a problem with expecting drivers to concentrate on driving while... you know... driving, but I'd like to know whether these bans actually work before imposing yet more.

Re:Great idea! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38359482)

Good science should be pretty easy. How much did accident rates drop when cellphone bans were imposed?

Good science does not rely on post hoc fallacies.

Re:Great idea! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38359222)

So I wonder what their take is on mobile communication devices other than phones. As an example, I offer amateur radio gear.

Re:Great idea! (5, Informative)

characterZer0 (138196) | more than 2 years ago | (#38359236)

Talking on the phone and talking to a passenger do not have the same impact on driver attention.

Re:Great idea! (1, Informative)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 2 years ago | (#38359514)

I'm not sure that talking to a passenger doesn't have more of an impact. If someone is in my front seat, I want to turn and face them when talking.

Re:Great idea! (5, Funny)

BronsCon (927697) | more than 2 years ago | (#38359608)

If someone's in your front seat, they can see that traffic conditions have changed and know to STFU for a moment, without you having to tell them. Unless they're my ex, then they don't know what STFU means, nor how or when to do so.

Re:Great idea! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38359600)

Actually they do.

Re:Great idea! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38359304)

I find passengers talking to me far more distracting than me talking to them.

Re:Great idea! (1)

s0litaire (1205168) | more than 2 years ago | (#38359422)

well at least your passengers can tell you to "watch out for that car!" the person on the other end of the phone can't...

last txt before accident.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38359110)

girlfran>you busy?
driver>lol no. just drivan ;)

Docked Phones? (4, Insightful)

sanosuke001 (640243) | more than 2 years ago | (#38359154)

What about my docked phone that is playing music? Can I even have it running? Is pressing "next" equal to hitting your in-car stereo's next button?

I completely agree with not allowing non-hands-free talking and especially with texting, but all electronic usage is a bit vague...

Re:Docked Phones? (0, Flamebait)

Synerg1y (2169962) | more than 2 years ago | (#38359266)

This is what happens when a bunch of oldfags try to get together and dictate how people do things. Thankfully its just a suggestion, one they didn't think through very much. Then again, what has come out of DOT that's positive in oh say the last 20 years?

Re:Docked Phones? (4, Informative)

Thagg (9904) | more than 2 years ago | (#38359426)

Amazingly, due in large part to efforts of the NHTSA, 2010 had the lowest number of fatalities on the road in 60 years [msn.com]. So, yes, a lot positive has come out of their research and recommendations.

And when you say "they didn't think through very much", you're off by a magnitude that you (clearly) wouldn't believe. While perhaps the results going against so-called "common sense", the amount of distraction caused by hands-free vs hand-held cellphones is similar and very high -- there have been dozens of studies over the years, and they all reach this conclusion.

Re:Docked Phones? (1)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 2 years ago | (#38359284)

Additionally, they have banned talking to other people in your vehicle, so all vehicles must now have a one-person capacity.

Re:Docked Phones? (1)

danomac (1032160) | more than 2 years ago | (#38359414)

A dock can have two-way communication and would let your car's controls change tracks, although they'd have to mandate this. Then they'd have to find a way to figure out if you have an "approved" dock and not another random one. There are ways, but none easy to enforce. They can adapt steering wheel controls to aftermarked CD players, so there's obviously ways of controlling devices without taking your hands off a steering wheel.

My brother's car has a lot of computerized controls, but the car won't let him change anything if it detects the vehicle is in motion. He has to come to a stop, then the car will let him change settings.

Re:Docked Phones? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38359480)

Doesn't that depend on where your "next" is? Is it on a screen built into the dash, or is it on your phone that you have to take your eyes off the road to locate and grab, then visually find the "next" area of the screen, seeing as very few devices bother implementing next/prv as real buttons anymore. There's a pretty huge difference if you're honest about it.

While they're at it (0)

cyberchondriac (456626) | more than 2 years ago | (#38359162)

They should ban idiots who can't walk and chew gum at the same time from driving. Texting is altogether different however.. that's just stupid, it forces your eyes off the road.

Re:While they're at it (1)

danceswithtrees (968154) | more than 2 years ago | (#38359448)

So where do you draw the line? You seem conflicted-- that banning texting is a good idea but banning talking is a step toward a nanny state? What about reading texts? What about fumbling with the GPS/mapping function? What about dialing a phone-- that also forces your eyes off the road. Where do you draw the line? Do you let people make up their own limits of what they feel is safe? Keep in mind that 95% of drivers think they are above average.

You need to enforce some rules for what is safe or it becomes a free for all-- let people make up their minds about how fast they want to drive, how bald their tires are, whether they want to use snow chains, etc. If the damage was limited only to the driver and his/her car, I would be fine with that but they drive on congested roads and often have other people in their car.

Just more retards and big government (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38359196)

No comment. Just yet another attempt to expand government's control over our lives.

Needed to be done. (5, Insightful)

Tufriast (824996) | more than 2 years ago | (#38359198)

I hate to break it to people, techies included, but talking on your phone and driving kills people. Its a pretty well known fact and insurance companies are even charging higher premiums to people who have had a cell phone related accident (more than a normal rate increase). Ultimately this is the states' call, but if it was your kid, significant other, or friend who got killed by someone texting/talking on their phone would you let it go?

Citation please (5, Insightful)

Scareduck (177470) | more than 2 years ago | (#38359310)

If it's so damned dangerous, why do the cops get a permanent exception?

Spare me the "talking on your phone and driving kills people" sophistry. So does anything else that distracts from driving. Shall we next eliminate cupholders in cars because drinking and driving "kills people", too?

Re:Citation please (1)

DigitalGoetz (2510424) | more than 2 years ago | (#38359502)

Actually, driving kills so many people, we should outlaw any machinery that can be driven. Then we could finally be free of all driver-related injuries/deaths. Even the global warming crowd could get in on the less burning of fossil fuels and the conservatives couldn't deny the sheer volume of jobs created by the newly bolstered rickshaw industry! It's the perfect solution!

Re:Citation please (4, Insightful)

superdave80 (1226592) | more than 2 years ago | (#38359504)

Because cops are automatically better than us.

That's why they can constantly record you out in public, but the second you try recording them it, it's 'wiretapping' or 'interfering with police business'.

That's why they can carry loaded guns, but the average citizen just can't be trusted to do the same.

They can speed as much as they damn well please, because they are better drivers than you.

Re:Citation please (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38359612)

Cops have a proven system designed where their large mic is fixed to their clothing and there's a single large button to press to talk. Phones require looking at the screen, pressing the area of the screen that accepts the call. That's two operations where you have to take your eyes from the road.

So spare us your pathetic shit. I see drivers fucking around with their phones everyday, swerving around, over compensating on braking because they thing the car in front is stopping because they've been looking at the phone in their hand. I've seen then end up in ditches and drive straight into the car in front. I've also been stuck in traffic where huge delays have been caused by people, possible sanctimonious shits like you, fucking around with their phones.

Wouldn't it be funny if you, or a loved one was crippled by a driver on their phone. Oh how you'll laugh.

Re:Needed to be done. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38359518)

How, does the driver throw the phone at someone's head to kill them while driving? I would think the giant hunk of metal and plastic your piloting would be more deadly than a cell phone.

Re:Needed to be done. (2)

nightfell (2480334) | more than 2 years ago | (#38359566)

I hate to break it to people, techies included, but talking on your phone and driving kills people.

No it doesn't. It can, but that's an entirely different statement.

Driving while sick can also. Hell, driving while perfectly healthy can!

Ultimately this is the states' call, but if it was your kid, significant other, or friend who got killed by someone texting/talking on their phone would you let it go?

What does that even mean, "let it go"? Your scenario hasn't provided sufficient context. Did they swerve off the road into a crowd of children? Did they run a red light because they were texting? Or was my "kid, significant other, or friend" jaywalking? Were they texting or using hands-free speakerphone?

Here's another example for you. A few times a year, you hear about some old person who runs through a crowd of people because their "pedal got stuck". It's funny how this only seems to happen to old people. Would I forgive them? If they decided to give up driving after that incident, and there were no warning signs before, probably. If they had a series of similar (but less tragic) "malfunctions", and blindly decided to keep doing it, I'd probably do everything in my power to try to have their license revoked (which I imagine is basically "nothing").

Remember the Toyota issue from a while back? Turns out, these cases tended to be old people and there was no sign of actual malfunction. But I'm not going to call for a ban on old people driving (though I would support some sort of competency exam after a certain age or triggered by certain events).

The same goes for phone usage. Texting and non-handsfree are logical. Some of the laws are silly, though. For example, hitting the Siri button on an iPhone is presumed to be illegal in California, even though it requires no undue attention being taken off the road.

But life's full of risks, and we're entering the territory of diminishing returns. What happens next? There will be some other thing that's dangerous (eating while driving, controlling the radio, driving with a cold), and since we've solved the big ones (seat belts, car seats, drunk driving, texting), the remaining minimal risks will be appealing targets to those tasked with improving safety.

Re:Needed to be done. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38359568)

I know I'm setting a bad example but I was talking on the cell phone while powersliding out of a corner with one hand in traffic yesterday. I really am just that good though. I have the standings and now a trophy to prove it.

Still, gonna post anon...I just don't have the patience for street driving v_v

Fine with me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38359210)

The majority of accidents that I attend to here in Canada are because of people on their cellphone, and we have a hands-free driving law in effect. If anything accidents seem to be worse, because the driver hasn't even stopped breaking by the time they've seen that they're in a crash.

Re:Fine with me... (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#38359428)

The majority of accidents I've seen in Canada are because people think that leaving three feet between them and the car in front at night in fresh snow at 60km/h is perfectly safe.

First, please ban: (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38359220)

Eating
Smoking
Doing make-up
Driving without seat-belts
Dogs in the front seat. ... then maybe we can talk.

zzzzzzzzz... (-1, Flamebait)

Krau Ming (1620473) | more than 2 years ago | (#38359250)

what about when i fall asleep at the wheel cause i'm not allowed to talk on the phone which helps keep me awake???

Re:zzzzzzzzz... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38359320)

Falling asleep at the wheel will remain legal. Just don't be reckless.

Re:zzzzzzzzz... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38359362)

If you need to talk on a phone to keep yourself awake, you shouldn't be on the road. It's that simple. If you are so tired you can't stay awake, theres no way your mind can handle being sleep deprived, carrying on a conversation, AND paying attention to your driving environment.

Ray LaHood needs to take a step back (4, Interesting)

Cutriss (262920) | more than 2 years ago | (#38359254)

I recognize that someone in Mr. LaHood's position needs to strongly advocate for safety, but his position borders on authoritarian. I listened to an interview with him on Fresh Air (I think) where he basically shouted down anyone who offered a counterpoint to his position and portrayed them all as idiots. The best part was when the final caller claimed to actually be driving while calling and it set him off to the point I thought he was going to ask if they could trace the call.

Just get us self-driving cars already so that this and a number of related problems go away.

Re:Ray LaHood needs to take a step back (1)

AdamJS (2466928) | more than 2 years ago | (#38359460)

That's hilarious.
Like calling the fire department and asking why your lighter isn't working on your rug.

Re:Ray LaHood needs to take a step back (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38359512)

By the way, I've heard two interviews on NPR featuring Mr. LaHood. In both cases, he was aggressive, dismissive, and generally petulant whenever his position was questioned. He came to the show strictly for the purpose of delivering one message: "Two hands on the wheel, eyes on the road. Always. No exceptions"

Renault must be feeling good now.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38359262)

Sweet! Just days after Renault's "car as a platform" demo..

To be honest, (1)

RLU486983 (1792220) | more than 2 years ago | (#38359268)

several people should be banned from driving! Unfortunately, passing a test is the extent of competence for most drivers and even with that, some barely make it.

Re:To be honest, (1)

SirBitBucket (1292924) | more than 2 years ago | (#38359350)

No doubt. Drivers should be required to re-take the driving test at least every ten years, every five years once over 65...

How will they know (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38359274)

If I am not just talking to myself and not using my hands-free bluetooth phone that is built into my car?

Congrats NTSB, you've covered your butt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38359280)

We'd also save 30,000 lives a year if we set to national speed limit to more than 5 mph.

Re:Congrats NTSB, you've covered your butt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38359440)

We'd also save 30,000 lives a year if we set to national speed limit to more than 5 mph.

Yeah, I hate it when joggers pass me on the highway...

Problem was texting, bad brakes, not cell phone (5, Interesting)

mwehle (2491950) | more than 2 years ago | (#38359282)

From the cited article:

Investigators also found significant problems with the brakes of both school buses involved in the accident. A third school bus sent to a hospital after the accident to pick up students crashed in the hospital parking lot when that bus' brakes failed.

Lesson would seem to be not to text while driving, and definitely don't text while driving in front of multiple school buses with bad brakes.

Re:Problem was texting, bad brakes, not cell phone (4, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#38359364)

Lesson would seem to be not to text while driving, and definitely don't text while driving in front of multiple school buses with bad brakes.

Surely the lesson would seem to be: make sure school buses have working brakes?

Re:Problem was texting, bad brakes, not cell phone (2)

madhatter256 (443326) | more than 2 years ago | (#38359446)

You'd be surprised how many school buses in America are poorly taken care of.....

Applies to hands-free phones, are you sure? (1)

pottsj (318426) | more than 2 years ago | (#38359292)

I can't get to the referenced ntsb.gov page [ntsb.gov] but the CNN article [cnn.com] states just the opposite. The last line in CNN's article reads: "It would not apply to hand-free devices or to passengers."

Re:Applies to hands-free phones, are you sure? (4, Informative)

RobinEggs (1453925) | more than 2 years ago | (#38359420)

I can't get to the referenced ntsb.gov page [ntsb.gov] but the CNN article [cnn.com] states just the opposite. The last line in CNN's article reads: "It would not apply to hand-free devices or to passengers."

The CNN article is simply wrong. The original report and the vastly more detailed CBS article [cbsnews.com] state clearly that the ban would cover all communications uses of electronics.

Yeah, so, (2)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 2 years ago | (#38359298)

...you can still grope around under the seat for CDs in traffic but you can't use a voice dialer / hands free setup to tell wife you're stuck in traffic. Your tax dollars at work.

Not to worry, the providers' lobby will win. (1)

ElmoGonzo (627753) | more than 2 years ago | (#38359302)

Science, schmience. AT&T plus Verizon can come up with enough money to buy off any legislator foolish enough to try to implement anything as sensible as this. Maybe if it were tied to a tax cut....

So much for on-call, boss... (1)

buckeyeguy (525140) | more than 2 years ago | (#38359306)

guess I can't respond to the calls or automated alerts I get on my phone, the latter of which require keypad entry to acknowledge.

this is complete BS (3, Insightful)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 2 years ago | (#38359326)

Drivers should be only punished if there driving is dangerous. Drivers exhibiting signs of impaired driving (like slow reaction), excessively long cushions to the next car, speed lower than traffic.

The amount of preventive punishment: seat belts, speed limits, etc is mind boggling. All in the name of safety.

Punish drivers for the crime, actual accident which was there fault, actual impediment to the traffic, not for the achieving preconditions of what will actually happen. As long as I am concerned the driver could be sleeping on the back seat, if his robotic car manages to drive the car meanwhile.

This is all of course excludes DUI. Those need to be moved to the buses for life, period.

Re:this is complete BS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38359586)

Drivers should be only punished if there driving is dangerous. (...) Punish drivers for the crime, actual accident which was there fault

In school we learn things like grammar to avoid future horrific accidents like using "there" when one means "their". While I agree that once such an accident occurs we can call it out and punish the perpetrator, but at that point the atrocity has already been committed. Moreover, if we were to abolish the preventative education the number of accidents would increase to the point where punishing each individual occurrence becomes infeasible.

I am highly in favor of preventative measures.

Re:this is complete BS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38359606)

This is all of course excludes DUI. Those need to be moved to the buses for life, period.

No, they should just be charged with pre-mediated murder, or attempted pre-mediated murder.

GPS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38359328)

I use my phone's GPS all the time in the car. Does that fall under "cell phone use?"

Does the ban also extend even to electronic devices such as the stand-alone GPS I got for my parents as well?

Other Dangerous Activities while Driving (5, Interesting)

zifn4b (1040588) | more than 2 years ago | (#38359332)

How about we ban other dangerous activities while driving like:

- Changing radio stations
- Putting on makeup
- Reading books or newspapers
- Scolding children in the back seat
- Thumbing through CD wallets looking for CD's
- Eating

Seriously, people have been doing things in their cars that can and have caused accidents, some of them even more utterly ridiculous than using cell phones or texting. Why is this getting so much attention?

a simple ban won't work alone (1)

Truekaiser (724672) | more than 2 years ago | (#38359338)

there are not enough cops to enforce a ban even though it could increase revenue a lot for many area's. there are already commercial cell phone signal jamming devices that could be retrofitted to work inside the area of a typical civilian(non police) vehicle cabin. this could be required to be put into new vehicles or for a partial Faraday cage built into the cabin space of new vehicles to deal with this. gps's won't be effected by the jamming device as they use a separate frequency and built in gps devices in cars, while not visible to the owner, they have a antenna external to the cabin already as that allows a better signal.

existing vehicle owners would have a choice of either being subject to the ban in which the cop can pull them over if they see a cell phone in the car and on their head or a hands free device on their head. or install a jamming device out of their own cost for possibly a reduced insurance rate. as for cars with built in systems like mentioned in the summery, just extend the law that requires those with dvd play back ability to not play back a dvd while the vehicle is in motion(for dash mounted player screens) to working the device at all. make it so the touch screen won't accept user input other then volume adjustment while the car is in motion and the brakes are not being applied.

Re:a simple ban won't work alone (2)

sconeu (64226) | more than 2 years ago | (#38359534)

there are already commercial cell phone signal jamming devices that could be retrofitted to work inside the area of a typical civilian(non police) vehicle cabin. this could be required to be put into new vehicles or for a partial Faraday cage built into the cabin space of new vehicles to deal with this.

And preventing passengers from using a phone? As for the Faraday cage, what about the need to call 911 after an accident and you can't get out of the vehicle?

Premptive (?) (2)

PeanutButterBreath (1224570) | more than 2 years ago | (#38359340)

There are two types of people who use phones and other gadgets while driving: Those who realize that their driving ability is impaired, and those who don't realize that their driving ability is impaired.

BTW, I don't remember the last time I saw a cop driving a car without either talking on the phone or using a laptop mounted on the passenger seat.

Ban all the drivers.... (5, Interesting)

madhatter256 (443326) | more than 2 years ago | (#38359360)

Seriously, the technology is here to allow for fully autonomous driving. The government just needs to come up with the funding to install all of the sensors and implement regulations that require all manufacturers to include these in ALL vehicles.

Driving is a privelege, not a right. If we want our roads to be truly safe then we should have computers do the driving for us. Again, the technology is here (straight from wikipedia):

Autonomous cars are not in widespread use, but their introduction could produce several direct advantages:

Fewer crashes, due to the autonomous system's increased reliability compared to human drivers[1]
Increased roadway capacity due to reduced need of safety gaps[2] and the ability to better manage traffic flow.[1]
Relief of vehicle occupants from driving and navigation chores.[1]
Removal of constraints on occupant's state - it would not matter if the occupants were too young, too old or if their frame of mind were not suitable to drive a traditional car. Furthermore, disabilities would no longer matter.[3]
Elimination of redundant passengers - humans are not required to take the car anywhere, as the robotic car can drive empty to wherever it is required.[3]
Alleviation of parking scarcity as cars could drop off passengers, park far away where space is not scarce, and return as needed to pick up passengers.
Indirect advantages are anticipated as well. Adoption of robotic cars could reduce the number of vehicles worldwide,[4][5] reduce the amount of space required for vehicle parking,[6] and reduce the need for traffic police and vehicle insurance.

This will not only "eliminate" accidents, but also decrease emmissions, and save money....

Public Transit (5, Insightful)

TrumpetPower! (190615) | more than 2 years ago | (#38359372)

I'm amazed that people are still so passionate about driving themselves to work and so vehemently opposed to public transit. Don't all y'all realize that you could spend your commute time texting and Tweeting and talking and what-not with reckless abandon if you let a professional handle the driving for you?

On top of it, a transit system done right is faster, far cheaper, and much more efficient than one in which single-occupancy multi-passenger vehicles are the norm. Instead of sitting in stop-and-go traffic on the freeway for an hour, you could be in a train doing 100 mph down the median of that same freeway...if only such a train existed.

Don't get me worng. Cars are awesome, and a vital part of any modern transportation system. But the balance of the American transportation system is skewed so far in favor of cars that it's become the most expensive, slowest, most dangerous, most inconvenient, most inefficient transportation system you could design.

Cheers,

b&

Re:Public Transit (5, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#38359494)

I'm amazed that people are still so passionate about driving themselves to work and so vehemently opposed to public transit.

That's because public transit sucks.

If I take the bus to work I get to stand outside at -40 waiting for it, then it takes half an hour to get to the depot, then I stand in the cold for a few minutes waiting to change to another bus, then it takes an other half hour to get to work. Then I get to do the same on the way back, except for the days when it's really cold and snowy and the bus is half an hour late so I have to wait at the bus stop and hope that it's going to turn up before I get frostbite because if I go inside to warm up then I can be sure that the bus will arrive right then.

Alternatively I can drive and it takes fifteen minutes.

Re:Public Transit (1)

sconeu (64226) | more than 2 years ago | (#38359602)

I'm amazed that people are still so passionate about driving themselves to work and so vehemently opposed to public transit. ... [ redacted ]

On top of it, a transit system done right... [redacted]

Key words... DONE RIGHT. Where I live, there is no single city center, and the city is very geographically spread out. Yet all the public transit is based on the assumption that everyone goes downtown in the AM, and home in the evening. You can't get from one business district to another without going downtown.

When public transit fits my needs, I will use it.

Dangerous at any speed?? (1)

bdemchak (1099961) | more than 2 years ago | (#38359396)

This is wise ... the brain cannot serve two masters, and it's clear that people are making the wrong choices far too often. However, that said, there are many kinds of driving scenarios: crowded parking lots, residential streets, freeway ingress/egress, crowded expressways, and long expressway spans. They all call for different kinds of attention, and long expressway driving really can tolerate split attention. So, what are we really talking about, and what's the best way to avoid danger? How about criminalizing various kinds of distracted driving ... like a DUI? How about making this a state-by-state decision ... why do the feds need to be involved? ... all states do not have the same driving scenarios or sensibilities.

Navigation isn't a luxury (1)

n5vb (587569) | more than 2 years ago | (#38359416)

I'd be OK with having to stop to send texts. It's possible to set the phone up so incoming texts just pop alerts, so I don't have to touch it, and if the message requires more brain effort to parse than I can safely devote to it, again, I can pull over.

But navigation in dense urban areas whose traffic situations may evolve rapidly during the day is considerably more difficult (and requires considerably more concentration on route planning than I feel is safe when I'm driving) without real-time traffic data on a map app. I need a moving-map display with at least near-real-time traffic density info, because if I know a slowdown or a complete backup is ahead before I hit it, I can re-route to avoid it and not get stuck in traffic to begin with. (And possibly avoid a rear-end-collision situation that's put me in danger more than once when traffic abruptly stops.) Sorry, NTSB, but navigation is an entirely different class of interaction with electronic devices than texting or email. It's part of the job of driving. I'll dock the phone if I have to, but I need real-time navigation info anytime I'm not driving on highways between cities.

follow the science (1)

Chirs (87576) | more than 2 years ago | (#38359430)

Everything I've heard says that talking on a phone (hands free or not) is more distracting than other things because the person on the other end is actively demanding your attention and can't tell what's going on in the environment around the car.

You can tune out the radio or music when you need attention on the road. Passengers physically in the car can see that the driver is busy driving and wait until things calm down again before continuing the conversation.

Of course there are people that can use communications technology responsibly while driving--but most people can't. I suppose one option would be to cut all insurance coverage if there was a phone active in the vehicle at the time of an accident...

As a motorcyclist... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38359442)

I think this is a good idea. When I have problems with sketchy drivers it seem to break down about like this:

70% - Women on the phone
15% - Men on the phone
10% - Really old people
5% - Other

What exactly is so important that you have to talk about it RIGHT NOW but not too important to pull over and discuss?

and for people who travel for work? (0)

Libertarian001 (453712) | more than 2 years ago | (#38359456)

I work in the field. We use pagers to send out to the entire team that there's a service request. Yes, to the entire team. Yes, we still use pagers. Do you honestly believe that I'm going to pull off the freeway just so I can check to see if it's my call? If I can change radio stations then I can check the pager. No, I'm not going text. Yes, I am going to call dispatch to accept it because if the owner doesn't respond within 20 minutes of the page going out then the supervisor gets notified. Then it gets paged out again, plus I have the customer, dispatcher, and supervisor all trying to call me to find out why I haven't accepted it. Yes, stupid system. And, yes, I'm still going to look at the pager.

Ludicrous! (1)

babboo65 (1437157) | more than 2 years ago | (#38359508)

A ban on all cell phone use is utterly devoid of any form of logic.

Reaching for a dropped cigarette, fumbling for your lighter, dealing with a crying/screaming/misbehaving child, changing the radio, fiddling with your GPS, eating, drinking your morning coffee/tea, shaving, putting on make-up, even talking with your passenger are all PERMISSIBLE distractions, yet they all cause accidents. I am not advocating texting whilst driving - far too much attention has to be placed on the screen and keyboard for anyone to read or send a text safely. But banning _all_ cell phone use is ridiculous unless all other forms of driver distractions are also banned. Talking on a cell phone (hands free, naturally) is no different than speaking to (but not looking at) the passenger next to you. At least when speaking on a cell phone you are less likely to turn your head and speak to someone as you do when they are present in the vehicle.

Over-reaction of this caliber is tantamount to the mind-set that brought us prohibition and other such similar knee-jerk reactions from the government.

WOAH! Too littel too late! (0)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 2 years ago | (#38359516)

Considering that we JUST GOT SELF DRIVING CARS [discovery.com], which have been driving around California public roads without anyone being the wiser...

This crap of a law is SO FAIL.

Amend it to say: "None of this applies if the Driver is AI" and I'll think about it.

Oh, and before you reply "A human driver will need to watch the road just in case" PAH! There are already luxury cars that watch the road and stop you BEFORE you even noticed a problem. In fact, once the cars can talk to each other safely one can alert many others MILES AWAY that they slammed on their breaks because of an obstruction, and if it persists DIRECT TRAFFIC AWAY before it creates grid-lock.

Trying to ban OnStar too? (1)

CCarrot (1562079) | more than 2 years ago | (#38359522)

Hmmm...I wonder if this will apply to OnStar as well? No more "where's the nearest flower shop? or "call 555-555-5555"?

Or...is this a clever maneuver to restrict all in-vehicle communication to OnStar (or other OnStar-esque services)? Separate cell-phone and vehicle-phone calling accounts, anybody? One-stop-shopping for law enforcement for your phone records (at least for calls while driving...)?

Whoops, gotta go, my next conspiracy theory is about to hatch and I hate missing the look on their little faces as they see the world for the first time...:)

What about it? (1)

OverlordQ (264228) | more than 2 years ago | (#38359526)

So what about all the cars today that come with built-in computers, navigation, internet capabilities, and cell phones?

Every non-aftermarket in-car display for the driver I've seen, when you start the car up spouts a warning about how you shouldn't drive and operate it at the same time. So I have no clue what you're asking.

Non-hands free makes sense, but ALL usage? (1)

starseeker (141897) | more than 2 years ago | (#38359530)

Banning hands-free cell phone usage raises some other interesting questions... should we ban talking to others in the vehicle while driving? Listening to talk radio while driving? Listening to music? (Who else has caught modern music using sirens and cell phone noises as faint background attention getters?)

I suspect the default assumption made about people objecting to a ban would be that those people don't want to lose the convenience of talking to their friends/family while stuck in traffic, and in a lot of cases that's probably a fair assumption. However, personal convenience issues aside, there are a lot of professions (real estate agents come to mind) who do a LOT of their business while between one location and the next. Really clamping down on such a ban would play havoc with them. What about doctors - should they no longer be allowed to be notified about patient emergencies while behind the wheel? Should police cars have to pull over in order to use their communications gear?

Banning texting strikes me as a no brainer (I'm more astonished anyone would actually *try* that...) and hands-on usage banning I agree with, but banning hands OFF communication seems to invite some complications that deserve careful thought. I have heard claims that even hands-off cell phone usage causes a dangerous degree of driver distraction and that might be the case, but does anybody know of actual published peer reviewed studies demonstrating that and what the numbers are compared to radio, in-car discussions and other such distractions?

Basic Speed Law (2)

Ichijo (607641) | more than 2 years ago | (#38359562)

Every state in the USA has a "basic speed law" which says you should not drive faster than what's safe under the current conditions, no matter what the posted speed limit says. For example, if you can't devote 100% of your attention to the road, then you need to drive more slowly. Therefore, rather than banning cell phones, all we have to do is enforce existing laws against speeding, and possibly raise the penalties. Why do drunk drivers automatically get their driving privileges back after one to two years? It just doesn't make sense to reward poor judgment.

I wonder... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38359576)

How many lives have been saved because a tired driver was able to stay awake from talking to someone on the phone, instead of falling asleep and getting in a crash?

an outrage (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#38359622)

I just don't see how the NTSB can recommend a ban on cell phone use for drivers, but not a ban on male airline customers who wear too much cologne.

I just don't get the priorities of this country any more.

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