NTSB: Ban all behind-the-wheel cell phone use, even hands free

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Spacers's picture
Joined: 12/29/03
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NTSB: Ban all behind-the-wheel cell phone use, even hands free

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Using electronic devices behind the wheel is dangerous and no driver should be allowed to use cell phones - even hands-free devices - while driving, the National Transportation Safety Board said today.

The five-member board unanimously approved a resolution calling on state governments and federal regulators to ban the use of phones and electronic devices while driving, except in emergency situations.

The resolution is only a recommendation and will have no direct impact on state or federal highway laws, but is still one of the strongest stances against using phones and other electronic devices while driving.

The NTSB said that use of electronic devices while driving is a distraction that has caused a number of fatal accidents over the last decade, including a pileup in Missouri last year that killed two people and injured 35, some seriously.

In August 2010, a pickup truck driver who was distracted by his phone rammed the back of a big-rig that had slowed for a construction zone. Then the pickup was hit from behind by a school bus, which was thrown into the air before it crashed down on the truck, killing the driver. A second school bus then slammed into the first school bus, killing a passenger who was in the back of the first bus.

The pickup driver had sent 11 text messages in the 11 minutes before the crash, including some just moments before impact, the board said.

He was "most likely distracted from the driving task by a text messaging conversation at or near the time of the accident," the board said.

The accident is a "big red flag for all drivers," NTSB chairman Deborah Hersman said at today's meeting.
Many states, including California, already ban text messaging while driving and require the drivers use hands-free devices.

But the board's resolution suggests those laws don't go far enough.

The board also called on wireless companies to create technology that would "disable the functions of these portable electronic devices within reach of the driver when a vehicle is in motion," the resolution read.

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/12/13/BAEJ1MBUT7.DTL

I say, it's about time! Hang up & drive! Just this morning, I had to hang up on my mom, for about the gazillionth time, because she called me while she was driving. She's even been in an accident while using her cell phone, you'd think she'd have learned her lesson! You might think that phone call or that text is super important, or you might be willing to risk your own life for a call or text, but it's never going to be important enough for you to risk *MY* life & my kids' lives on the road. Hang up & Drive!
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RebeccaA'07's picture
Joined: 11/19/07
Posts: 1628

I think that there should be a move for complete handsfree in all vehicles.

Right now, texting is illegal in my state - but I still see it happening all of the time. Maybe they could police better if the law is handsfree, that way they don't have to determine if someone is texting or just dialing a number.

Jbaum2's picture
Joined: 04/19/11
Posts: 257

it's against the law here in Alberta Canada too. Just after the law was put into place I watched a young mom with 3 kids in her van staring at her cell phone and not the road (as she drove by a distracted driving sign). I shook my head.

culturedmom's picture
Joined: 09/30/06
Posts: 1131

Are we going to ban talking to other passangers in your car as well then?

ClairesMommy's picture
Joined: 08/15/06
Posts: 2299

Yeah, if someone wants to talk on their phone or text they're going to do it and aren't intimidated whatsoever by the new laws (e.g., here in Alberta talking/texting and all kinds of distracted driving like dogs in the front seat, etc. are banned). Hands-free devices are still allowed here, but I don't know for how much longer. Still, I see people talking/texting all.the.time. It really annoys me. I'm doing the safe thing by keeping my phone turned off and in my purse, and I even tell DD "Please let mommy pay attention to the road. We'll talk later." She gets it now. Mom driving means she can't look at the airplane out the window and she can't answer 50 thousand questions. I wish that more people would pay attention to the task at hand, which is driving a 1000 pound, potentially deadly 'weapon', for all intents and purposes. People are so cavalier behind the wheel these days. The other day I saw a chick putting makeup on.

GloriaInTX's picture
Joined: 07/29/08
Posts: 4116

"culturedmom" wrote:

Are we going to ban talking to other passangers in your car as well then?

They also need to ban eating, drinking, changing the radio station, thinking, and anything else that might cause a distraction.

Spacers's picture
Joined: 12/29/03
Posts: 4100

"RebeccaA'07" wrote:

I think that there should be a move for complete handsfree in all vehicles.

Right now, texting is illegal in my state - but I still see it happening all of the time. Maybe they could police better if the law is handsfree, that way they don't have to determine if someone is texting or just dialing a number.

This proposal includes banning hands free access to a phone. Talking on a headset or integrated bluetooth would become illegal. In fact, the NTSB has challenged wireless providers to develop technology that would enable this, thus eliminating the need for police to need to try to enforce it.

"culturedmom" wrote:

Are we going to ban talking to other passangers in your car as well then?

If we're talking about adults, it's far easier to stop talking with someone inside your car who sees that traffic is stopped ahead, and they can also be a second set of eyes watching the road. If we're talking about children, they are actually the third-most common cause of accidents in America, right behind cell phones & intoxication. I don't talk to my kids in the car, they know when we get in the car, conversation stops. At least most of it does, it can be really tough to ignore them sometimes. But I try. Distraction is distraction.

Needless to say, I'm in favor of this. I've been against cell phone use of any kind in cars since cell phones came into existence! And sadly, I'm being proven correct every single day. Cell phones are now the #1 cause of accidents, they have surpassed drunk driving but cause just as much damage & heartbreak. Last week, an elderly man in my neighborhood was killed crossing the street. The driver blamed the sun in his eyes, and it *was* the first sunny morning in weeks, but it turns out the driver was also talking on a cell phone via an integrated bluetooth system.

culturedmom's picture
Joined: 09/30/06
Posts: 1131

I disagree that talking on a cell phone is any different then talking to a passenger. To think that a passenger is a second set of eyes and stops talking when there is traffic is a huge assumption. I drove cross country with my mother and my chidlren twice and I can't imagine not talking all 4 days. I can see banning texting because to text one has to look at the phone and thus you are not looking at the road. I don't ahve to ever takemy eyes off the road to talk on my phone. I don't call and drive often but if I choose to do so I don't think it should be banned because I don't buy that handsfree talking is any different then talking to a passenger and if the gov't is going to ban that then I guess they should bann carpooling as well.

GloriaInTX's picture
Joined: 07/29/08
Posts: 4116

I think we should all have to keep a log of the hours that we sleep like truck drivers to make sure that we aren't tired when we get in the car. After all look at all the accidents caused by tired drivers.

Joined: 05/31/06
Posts: 4780

I would be very against this. Correct me if I'm wrong Stacey, but you live in a city and rarely use a car, don't you? I may be confusing you with someone else, if so, forgive me.

I frequently use my time in the car to talk on the phone. I do so hands free. All for it. Big fan. It would be ridiculous and actually a bit cruel to ban my three children from speaking while in the car ~ it can take an hour to get to the Zoo due to morning traffic, in a car, and yeah....not speaking for two hours a day? Not happening. I live in the suburbs.

I do think that texting in the car should be banned. I've done it. Don't think that it is right, but I'm not going to act all holier than thou as I have done it myself.

RebeccaA'07's picture
Joined: 11/19/07
Posts: 1628

"Spacers" wrote:

This proposal includes banning hands free access to a phone. Talking on a headset or integrated bluetooth would become illegal. In fact, the NTSB has challenged wireless providers to develop technology that would enable this, thus eliminating the need for police to need to try to enforce it.

If we're talking about adults, it's far easier to stop talking with someone inside your car who sees that traffic is stopped ahead, and they can also be a second set of eyes watching the road. If we're talking about children, they are actually the third-most common cause of accidents in America, right behind cell phones & intoxication. I don't talk to my kids in the car, they know when we get in the car, conversation stops. At least most of it does, it can be really tough to ignore them sometimes. But I try. Distraction is distraction.

Needless to say, I'm in favor of this. I've been against cell phone use of any kind in cars since cell phones came into existence! And sadly, I'm being proven correct every single day. Cell phones are now the #1 cause of accidents, they have surpassed drunk driving but cause just as much damage & heartbreak. Last week, an elderly man in my neighborhood was killed crossing the street. The driver blamed the sun in his eyes, and it *was* the first sunny morning in weeks, but it turns out the driver was also talking on a cell phone via an integrated bluetooth system.

Yes, I know it says even handsfree. I don't agree with that, I think making a movement to complete handsfree would be the best option. There are times I am in the car that I need to answer the phone or make a call. It's unrealistic and dangerous to pull over on some of the roads. You can drive and talk on your phone safely. Just like you can drive and talk to a passenger.

FLSunshineMom's picture
Joined: 06/07/06
Posts: 3859

I'm curious to know if the fatal crashes mentioned in the OP were the result of texting, and not just talking on the phone. Not to say there are never accidents while someone is on the phone, but I wonder how many were accidents would have happened anyway, but the driver just happened to be on the phone. kwim?

I view talking on the phone the same way as Lana, as having a conversation with someone. Assuming, that is, that I don't look down at my phone during that time (or look at the ear piece, lol). If I need to stop talking I just say "hold on a minute, " or if I'm in heavy traffic I tell them and we hang up. If I have to jot down a note or look for something while on the phone, I pull over and stop. Also, when I can, I wait until I am parked before calling someone. I live in an area where there are a lot of open roads with little traffic and so sometimes I will answer the phone if it rings. I don't do it constantly, but having my DD strapped in her booster seat is THE best time to talk on the phone Smile That being said, there are some people who just should not talk on a cell phone while driving. Those are the same people who, bless their hearts, cannot walk and chew gum at the same time, either. Lol So... maaaaybe cell phone talking while actually driving should be banned. I dunno.

As for texting, it absolutely should NOT be done while driving. Ever. Pull over and stop to do it. And when I say stop, I don't mean at a stoplight waiting for the light to change. I mean PULL OVER AND PUT IT IN PARK. Maybe even turn the engine off. lol. I was texting today while in a parking lot inching along slowly, as parent pick-up lines for school go (thinking because I was waiting in line and going so slow, that it wasn't really "driving," right?) and a mother was walking out of the school with her kids and decided at the last second to cross in front of me and I alllllmost didn't see them! And she was about nine months pregnant, too, no less. All because I was engrossed in texting. I just happened to look up right in the nick of time. Almost gave me a heart attack! (Note to anyone out there who crosses between cars in a parent pick-up line: please check to be sure the driver is watching first! Especially if she has reddish-dark blonde hair and freckles [i.e., me.] ;))

mom3girls's picture
Joined: 01/09/07
Posts: 1535

Not talking to my kid while driving? Ridiculous! I have some of the very best conversations in the car with my kids.

I think that if you feel you cannot drive and talk to passengers or on your blue tooth then dont do it, but I dont think most people become horrible drivers when then are talking to their kids

Strange_Cat's picture
Joined: 02/08/02
Posts: 41

I think it's a great idea to ban drivers from talking on the phone or texting. Maybe my commute time will go down. I'm so sick of being stuck behind people going 10-15 miles under the speed limit because they are too busy paying attention to whoever they are talking with to drive the car.

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6561

I can not imagine not being willing to talk to my kids in the car. They would be crushed. We went on about an 1 1/2 drive one way yesterday and that was some of the best family time.

In my State it is still legal to talk on the phone. Texting was recently made illegal. I admit, I have texted while waiting at a stop light. Mostly just the word driving so the person will know why I do not respond. I do talk on the phone while driving but only numbers I have on speed dial. My family all lives in either NY or DC. They all have to talk through a blue tooth. I think that is no different than talking to other passengers. I would be fine with it being that way here, but I would not want all phone talking banned. I would think it would be much better to talk to someone on the phone to help you stay awake and alert than it would be to fall asleep at the wheel. With no radio, talking to passengers, or talking on the phone, I am sure some people would fall asleep.

Alissa_Sal's picture
Joined: 06/29/06
Posts: 6427

I definitely understand what they are getting at with this law - but then I think that some people must be a lot better than me at multi-tasking. I actually do very little talking in the car when I'm driving (even to my son and passengers); not because I have a rule about it, but simply because I am terrible at focusing on more than one thing at a time. If you try to talk to me when I'm reading or watching a movie or driving, or whatever is absorbing my attention, I am a terrible conversationalist. I just can't concentrate on talking when something else is using up my mental reserves. Haha, that makes me sound like such a dumba$$, but it's true.
Having said that, I do understand that not everyone works the same way that I do. I have seen many people drive successfully while talking to their passengers and/or on bluetooth cell phones. I think maybe a better way to address it is to have stricter laws about what happens if you crash while texting, or whatever. Of course, that would be harder to prove unless the DA got cell phone records.

Joined: 03/14/09
Posts: 624

What about people like taxi drivers, truck drivers, ambulance drivers, etc. who need to be able to talk or not work?

Joined: 10/22/06
Posts: 1033

"blather" wrote:

What about people like taxi drivers, truck drivers, ambulance drivers, etc. who need to be able to talk or not work?

Yep. Every time I see a police officer they are either on a cell phone or the walkie talkie (

Joined: 05/31/06
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"mom3girls" wrote:

I have some of the very best conversations in the car with my kids.

Agreed 100%

ClairesMommy's picture
Joined: 08/15/06
Posts: 2299

"blather" wrote:

What about people like taxi drivers, truck drivers, ambulance drivers, etc. who need to be able to talk or not work?

Yes. My DH drives a truck and is in constant CB radio contact with dispatch. He has to be to do his job. However, he is no longer allowed, by law, to talk to his customers on his cell. His work cell was his lifeline - all his customers would call him directly. He's strictly hands-free now with his Jawbone.

At least here in AB emergency workers are still allowed to use their cell phones/computers while driving.

ftmom's picture
Joined: 09/04/06
Posts: 1538

I know when the law first went into effect here, my husband (an RCMP officer) commented that he could never see giving a ticket for it because he would feel like a huge hypocrite, since he is on the COMPUTER constantly when driving at work. He is constantly typing in license plate numbers and looking things up, not to mention the amount that he is talking on the radio.

Having said that though, he is also trained to do this, while the average driver is not. I think hands free should be OK, but not texting or even putting the phone up to your ear. Cell phones are too hard to hold that way. I always drop mine when trying to do other things, which would be very distracting when driving.

GloriaInTX's picture
Joined: 07/29/08
Posts: 4116

So in the accident cited in the article why weren't the TWO bus drivers able to stop in time? Were they texting too?

Dewey's picture
Joined: 12/29/01
Posts: 195

My suburban has Onstar, and our new pick-up has sync (though I've not added my phone to it yet, we've only had it just over a wk) my cell phone also has voice to text....so I'm totally hands free. I am on the road every day during the wk though picking up and dropping off kids at different activities and while I don't call a lot while on the road it does come in handy in the event I'm going to be a few minutes late picking a kid up or if I'm running late coming back home to be able to call home and have one of the kids at least start cooking dinner.

I do see people all the time though texting while they are driving, just coming back from one of hubby's Dr.'s appointments on Monday there was an idiot whipping down the interstate steering with his knee and texting like a bandit...needless to say the idiot was all over the road using up both lanes of the interstate. :rolleyes:

elleon17's picture
Joined: 01/26/09
Posts: 1981

I think that texting should be banned, but not all usage. hands free is fine with me.

There are so many other distractions in a car and hands free talking seems no different than having conversation with your passenger. maybe, even less dangerous because you aren't tempted to turn your head and face the person you are talking to periodically.

I admit to talking on the cell in the car. I don't text though.

My brother drives a Jaguar and the computer does not allow you to use the navigation screen while in drive. I thought that was cool

ClairesMommy's picture
Joined: 08/15/06
Posts: 2299

"GloriaInTX" wrote:

So in the accident cited in the article why weren't the TWO bus drivers able to stop in time? Were they texting too?

Because big, heavy vehicles like buses and commercial trucks require way more stopping distance than a pickup or car, and they were probably following too closely.

Joined: 05/31/06
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"elleon17" wrote:

My brother drives a Jaguar and the computer does not allow you to use the navigation screen while in drive. I thought that was cool

I don't know of any cars that DON'T do this. However, my entire car is voice controlled ~ so I can call up my Nav (or my address book or phone #'s) hands free simply by voice, and direct my NAV to go to that address or that preset in my address book. I would assume that if they ban hands free phone calling they would also ban all hands free audio communication within the car, which is nuts.

Joined: 04/12/03
Posts: 1686

"elleon17" wrote:

My brother drives a Jaguar and the computer does not allow you to use the navigation screen while in drive. I thought that was cool

What if there is a passenger in the car? Can they navigate?

GloriaInTX's picture
Joined: 07/29/08
Posts: 4116

"Claire'sMommy" wrote:

Because big, heavy vehicles like buses and commercial trucks require way more stopping distance than a pickup or car, and they were probably following too closely.

Exactly. So how does that have anything to do with whether the first driver was texting or not. It sounds like they wouldn't have had time to stop anyway.

Joined: 05/31/06
Posts: 4780

"ethanwinfield" wrote:

What if there is a passenger in the car? Can they navigate?

Not in any car I have ever been in. I have to be in park or fully stopped to use my computer or access my preset address book, whether driver or passenger. The end around, of course, is hands free voice control over Nav.

ClairesMommy's picture
Joined: 08/15/06
Posts: 2299

"GloriaInTX" wrote:

Exactly. So how does that have anything to do with whether the first driver was texting or not. It sounds like they wouldn't have had time to stop anyway.

Were it not for the fact that the pickup truck driver was texting the chances of him rear-ended a bus, and then been rear-ended by another bus would've been greatly decreased. It's hard to slow down for a construction zone that's approaching when your eyes aren't on the road.

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6561

"Potter75" wrote:

I would assume that if they ban hands free phone calling they would also ban all hands free audio communication within the car, which is nuts.

I agree with you. I can understand banning texting while driving, or even using a hand held cell phone. But banning voice controlled devices is crazy.

GloriaInTX's picture
Joined: 07/29/08
Posts: 4116

"Claire'sMommy" wrote:

Were it not for the fact that the pickup truck driver was texting the chances of him rear-ended a bus, and then been rear-ended by another bus would've been greatly decreased. It's hard to slow down for a construction zone that's approaching when your eyes aren't on the road.

He didn't rear end a bus. He rear ended a truck in front of him. He died so no one really knows whether his eyes were on the road or not. BOTH buses rear ended him and each other. So it sounds like to me that both bus drivers were either also disctracted or driving too fast, so its debatable whether even IF the first driver had been able to stop in time those buses may not have had time to stop.

Joined: 04/12/03
Posts: 1686

"Potter75" wrote:

Not in any car I have ever been in. I have to be in park or fully stopped to use my computer or access my preset address book, whether driver or passenger. The end around, of course, is hands free voice control over Nav.

Interesting. The one we had in our old vehicle let the passenger navigate. Our Garmins work too.

I'm against the proposed legislation. There have been times when phone calls on the road have saved us time and frustration - notifying us of canceled appts, traffic, weather, etc.

ClairesMommy's picture
Joined: 08/15/06
Posts: 2299

"GloriaInTX" wrote:

He didn't rear end a bus. He rear ended a truck in front of him. He died so no one really knows whether his eyes were on the road or not. BOTH buses rear ended him and each other. So it sounds like to me that both bus drivers were either also disctracted or driving too fast, so its debatable whether even IF the first driver had been able to stop in time those buses may not have had time to stop.

Oh. Okay. He rear-ended truck. So? He caused the accident and he started the chain reaction. This accident happened on the interstate, so let's presume the speed limit is 55. Those buses would need at least a couple hundred feet of stopping distance to avoid hitting any vehicle that just came to a dead stop in front of you. If this driver had pulled in front of the first bus and then hit the truck the first bus would have never been able to stop in time. Plus, the kid's cell phone records would reveal if his phone was in use at the time of the accident and the texting history. Witness driving nearby could have easily seen the kid swerve, have his head turn down or eyes not on the road. People who text while driving, whether they believe it or not, are usually pretty easy to spot. It is probable that the buses were under the minimum stopping distance required for a vehicle of that mass travelling at a high rate of speed, and the bus company will probably share in the liability (or flat out get sued by the family of the victim). But what does it matter? The guy's dead because he was distracted behind the wheel. These laws should not just be about banning cell phone use while driving; they should be about banning all activities that cause a driver to be distracted (and we're not talking about talking to your kid sitting in the back seat). You don't need a specific law against applying makeup while driving, or getting a CD out of your glovebox, or having your dog on your lap. It's all about achieving the same result, which is keeping your eyes and concentration on the road.

GloriaInTX's picture
Joined: 07/29/08
Posts: 4116

"Claire'sMommy" wrote:

You don't need a specific law against applying makeup while driving, or getting a CD out of your glovebox, or having your dog on your lap. It's all about achieving the same result, which is keeping your eyes and concentration on the road.

So why do we need a specific law against texting or talking on the phone then? The laws already on the books for reckless driving would easily cover it.

Joined: 06/04/07
Posts: 1368

I, too, think that this is a bit extreme. I disagree that it should include hands free. Anything else, I totally agree with. My son's close friend was just killed a couple months ago from driving and talking on the cell with his father. He was parked on the side of the road in the country as he should've been for the majority of the conversation, but when his dad told him to turn around as he was going the wrong direction, he didn't see the truck that was coming the same direction he was traveling and tried to do a u-turn while holding the phone. Had he been hands free, the outcome may have been quite a bit different since both hands would be on the wheel and he would've been able to turn much better to see. I can't imagine what his dad must be going through. It was mind jolting because if my son called to get help if he were lost at a place I knew of, I don't know if I would've done anything different than what TJ's dad did either. Now I will and hopefully my kids have been affected by this enough to never lax on this as well since they have older cars and no navigation system.

Joined: 06/04/07
Posts: 1368

"GloriaInTX" wrote:

So why do we need a specific law against texting or talking on the phone then? The laws already on the books for reckless driving would easily cover it.

I would think that many people don't see texting or talking on a cell phone (hand held) as reckless and would disput it since so many others do it as well and don't get into accidents or in trouble. That would take up uneccessary court time.

ClairesMommy's picture
Joined: 08/15/06
Posts: 2299

"GloriaInTX" wrote:

So why do we need a specific law against texting or talking on the phone then? The laws already on the books for reckless driving would easily cover it.

Reckless driving laws have been around for decades, but accidents involving cell phone usage are on the rise. Those laws obviously couldn't be written around future technologies like texting and cell phones, and probably most people who do talk/text while driving don't consider their actions to be reckless. With distracted driving laws the police can charge the precursory act of talking or texting (or any other distracted behaviour) before the driving becomes reckless, like smashing into someone's backside or running over a kid at an intersection. While a driver could likely be charged under existing reckless driving legislation, I think it's a bit late to really make a difference when somebody's already injured or dead because somebody else just had to send a tweet.

elleon17's picture
Joined: 01/26/09
Posts: 1981

[QUOTE=ftmom]I know when the law first went into effect here, my husband (an RCMP officer) commented that he could never see giving a ticket for it because he would feel like a huge hypocrite, since he is on the COMPUTER constantly when driving at work. He is constantly typing in license plate numbers and looking things up, not to mention the amount that he is talking on the radio.
[QUOTE]

I was just thinking about that. I see cops typing all the time while driving or at a stop light

b525's picture
Joined: 06/06/07
Posts: 298

"GloriaInTX" wrote:

So why do we need a specific law against texting or talking on the phone then? The laws already on the books for reckless driving would easily cover it.

Yes! This is exactly my issue. We already have laws on the books for reckless driving. I don't know why we need new ones that say the exact same thing, but just specific to phones. I'm okay with the texting ban, but I think it's overboard to limit even hands-free talking.

I also can't imagine driving without speaking to anyone. That is a great time to catch up with my kids! I just can't imagine saying, "I'm sorry, honey. I can't talk to you about this because I'm driving." I remember amazing conversations with my mom, growing up. It's where we hashed through discussions of boys, rules, schoolwork, problems with friends, etc.

elleon17's picture
Joined: 01/26/09
Posts: 1981

"Potter75" wrote:

I don't know of any cars that DON'T do this. However, my entire car is voice controlled ~ so I can call up my Nav (or my address book or phone #'s) hands free simply by voice, and direct my NAV to go to that address or that preset in my address book. .

I don't have a computer or built in navigation in my care (actually I use my cell for nav), so that was the first time I had seen that.

b525's picture
Joined: 06/06/07
Posts: 298

"Claire'sMommy" wrote:

Reckless driving laws have been around for decades, but accidents involving cell phone usage are on the rise. Those laws obviously couldn't be written around future technologies like texting and cell phones, and probably most people who do talk/text while driving don't consider their actions to be reckless. With distracted driving laws the police can charge the precursory act of talking or texting (or any other distracted behaviour) before the driving becomes reckless, like smashing into someone's backside or running over a kid at an intersection. While a driver could likely be charged under existing reckless driving legislation, I think it's a bit late to really make a difference when somebody's already injured or dead because somebody else just had to send a tweet.

Well, I would also argue that people who talk to their children in the car don't see their actions as reckless, either. The police can pull someone over for reckless driving, like tailgating or swerving, right? It doesn't have to be defined as to why they were reckless. So, if someone is swerving or tailgating because they're on the phone or texting, they could still get pulled over under that same law, couldn't they?

I will reiterate that I think the texting ban is fine because it's difficult to text while keeping your eyes on the road. That's a smart way to update legislation. But, I can certainly keep my eyes on the road and be aware of what's going on around me while talking into my visor speaker.

ClairesMommy's picture
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"b525" wrote:

Well, I would also argue that people who talk to their children in the car don't see their actions as reckless, either. The police can pull someone over for reckless driving, like tailgating or swerving, right? It doesn't have to be defined as to why they were reckless. So, if someone is swerving or tailgating because they're on the phone or texting, they could still get pulled over under that same law, couldn't they?

I will reiterate that I think the texting ban is fine because it's difficult to text while keeping your eyes on the road. That's a smart way to update legislation. But, I can certainly keep my eyes on the road and be aware of what's going on around me while talking into my visor speaker.

To the second bolded, I never said you (general) can't. I'm not talking about hands-free bluetooth/nav/jawbone etc. etc. etc. I'm talking about using a cellphone or texting, like, pushing the buttons. I think that hands-free devices are pretty safe, and I don't think talking to your kids constitutes distracted or reckless driving. I think that any type of interaction with your kids or anybody else in the vehicle that takes your attention off the road does constitute reckless driving. My 4 yo can ask me a question, or make a comment while I'm driving and it doesn't distract me. But sometimes she will yell "Look!" or ask a bajillion questions that start to get on my nerves. Then I am getting distracted by the sheer inundation of it all.

To the first bolded. Would you consider someone who's looking down at their phone while texting or dialing a phone number but who is NOT swerving or tailgating to be driving safely? I don't. If a cop can pull someone over and ticket them for texting, even if they're driving apparently 'normal', I'm personally glad.

I think what's good about distracted driving legislation, as I said in a previous post, is that it acts as a sort of pre-emptive strike. It's goal is to prevent or at least curtail reckless driving and potentially an ensuing accident before it happens.

FLSunshineMom's picture
Joined: 06/07/06
Posts: 3859

"Claire'sMommy" wrote:

To the second bolded, I never said you (general) can't. I'm not talking about hands-free bluetooth/nav/jawbone etc. etc. etc. I'm talking about using a cellphone or texting, like, pushing the buttons. I think that hands-free devices are pretty safe, and I don't think talking to your kids constitutes distracted or reckless driving. I think that any type of interaction with your kids or anybody else in the vehicle that takes your attention off the road does constitute reckless driving. My 4 yo can ask me a question, or make a comment while I'm driving and it doesn't distract me. But sometimes she will yell "Look!" or ask a bajillion questions that start to get on my nerves. Then I am getting distracted by the sheer inundation of it all.

To the first bolded. Would you consider someone who's looking down at their phone while texting or dialing a phone number but who is NOT swerving or tailgating to be driving safely? I don't. If a cop can pull someone over and ticket them for texting, even if they're driving apparently 'normal', I'm personally glad.

I think what's good about distracted driving legislation, as I said in a previous post, is that it acts as a sort of pre-emptive strike. It's goal is to prevent or at least curtail reckless driving and potentially an ensuing accident before it happens.

To the bolded: Oh yes, I get that all the time from my 4-yr old DD while I'm driving. "Mama! Look!" Ummm No, my sweet daughter, I cannot look. And the bazillion questions... oh my. :rolleyes:

Back to the debate, I just don't think it's a good idea to have a blanket "distracted driving" legislation. We aren't all distracted by the same things, so who's going to judge whether or not I am being distracted by say... handing my DD a tissue in the back seat when she has a booger? (Of course, if it was up to her, I would take her booger for her and put it on the tissue, but um, yah. Not happenin'.:))

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6561

I was thinking today as I was driving all of the things that could be distracting. The beautiful Christmas lights, reflecting in the quiet and all of the sudden realizing you left the stove on, looking at another accident and wondering what happened. You would have to ban driving all together to ban all distractions while driving.

Joined: 05/31/06
Posts: 4780

"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

I was thinking today as I was driving all of the things that could be distracting. The beautiful Christmas lights, reflecting in the quiet and all of the sudden realizing you left the stove on, looking at another accident and wondering what happened. You would have to ban driving all together to ban all distractions while driving.

Don't forget billboards, whose sole intent is to work by distracting drivers to look at them!

elleon17's picture
Joined: 01/26/09
Posts: 1981

"ethanwinfield" wrote:

What if there is a passenger in the car? Can they navigate?

I think the touch screen is completely disabled when the car is not in park.

ClairesMommy's picture
Joined: 08/15/06
Posts: 2299

"FLSunshineMom" wrote:

To the bolded: Oh yes, I get that all the time from my 4-yr old DD while I'm driving. "Mama! Look!" Ummm No, my sweet daughter, I cannot look. And the bazillion questions... oh my. :rolleyes:

Back to the debate, I just don't think it's a good idea to have a blanket "distracted driving" legislation. We aren't all distracted by the same things, so who's going to judge whether or not I am being distracted by say... handing my DD a tissue in the back seat when she has a booger? (Of course, if it was up to her, I would take her booger for her and put it on the tissue, but um, yah. Not happenin'.:))

I guess the police would. Our new law here is actually aimed at all forms of distracted driving, not just cell phone use. So if a cop sees somebody's dog jumping all around the car he can pull the driver over, even if the driver isn't swerving or driving like an idiot.

I'm replying to Bonita's post too: I know that we're all distracted by stuff while driving, but a lot of it is beyond our control. Sirens, accidents, billboards, screaming kids, etc. That's enough to deal with without being distracted by things that are within our control, like cell phones and the like.

b525's picture
Joined: 06/06/07
Posts: 298

"Claire'sMommy" wrote:

I guess the police would. Our new law here is actually aimed at all forms of distracted driving, not just cell phone use. So if a cop sees somebody's dog jumping all around the car he can pull the driver over, even if the driver isn't swerving or driving like an idiot.

I'm replying to Bonita's post too: I know that we're all distracted by stuff while driving, but a lot of it is beyond our control. Sirens, accidents, billboards, screaming kids, etc. That's enough to deal with without being distracted by things that are within our control, like cell phones and the like.

I would be much more likely to support this law than one specific to cell-phone use, although I still think it's covered under the reckless driving law.

ClairesMommy's picture
Joined: 08/15/06
Posts: 2299

Yeah, it's covered (here) by separate legislation - the older 'reckless' driving laws and the new 'distracted driving' laws. I think that there were so many accidents where texting/cell phone use was found to be major contributing factor that they needed to bring forth a new law to kind of wake people up a bit.

GloriaInTX's picture
Joined: 07/29/08
Posts: 4116

"Beertje" wrote:

I would think that many people don't see texting or talking on a cell phone (hand held) as reckless and would disput it since so many others do it as well and don't get into accidents or in trouble. That would take up uneccessary court time.

"Claire'sMommy" wrote:

Reckless driving laws have been around for decades, but accidents involving cell phone usage are on the rise. Those laws obviously couldn't be written around future technologies like texting and cell phones, and probably most people who do talk/text while driving don't consider their actions to be reckless. With distracted driving laws the police can charge the precursory act of talking or texting (or any other distracted behaviour) before the driving becomes reckless, like smashing into someone's backside or running over a kid at an intersection. While a driver could likely be charged under existing reckless driving legislation, I think it's a bit late to really make a difference when somebody's already injured or dead because somebody else just had to send a tweet.

The thing is that talking on the phone isn't distracting to everyone. So you can't make a blanket statement that talking on the phone is distracting or reckless. The only way you would know if it was a distraction is if the driver does something reckless or if they cause an accident, and then they could be charged with reckless driving. People who are actually reckless are probably going to ignore the law anyway, so it would still be only applied after the fact if there was an accident and they found out they were on the phone.

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