By on November 14, 2012

States and regulators should ban nonessential use of cellphones and other distracting portable electronic devices by operators across all modes of transportation – cars and trucks, planes, trains and vessels, and device manufacturers should perfect technology that disables cellphones and other devices when they are within reach of an operator while the vehicle is in operation. This draconian recommendation was made today by the National Transportation Safety Board NTSB, saying this could cut fatal highway accidents by more than half. the Associated Press says in a report.

The implementation would ban pretty much all cellphone use, even when used via Bluetooth and a hands-free kit. How drivers can be kept from using the phone while passenger can gab away is anybody’s guess.

The agency also recommends that “lane departure warning, forward collision warning, adaptive cruise control, automatic braking, and electronic stability control, tire pressure monitoring, on-board monitoring (for commercial drivers), and speed-limiting technology” be made mandatory as standard equipment in all motor vehicles.

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers already complained that the gadgets would add thousands of dollars to already richly priced cars.

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126 Comments on “NTSB Demands Cell Phone Block And Total Nannyfication Of All Motor Vehicles...”


  • avatar
    Robstar

    I can’t wait to see the motorcycle implementation….

  • avatar
    rwb

    New law: All motorists shall be required to stay at home and cower in fear at the thought of the accident they will surely be in if they decide to drive an automobile.

    • 0 avatar
      yesthatsteve

      Yes! I suppose it’s sheer luck that I’ve managed to drive on the roads of this country and others for almost 30 years without killing myself or anyone else.

      I MUST BE STOPPED!

  • avatar
    -Cole-

    This is just like the UK and its surveillance. Technology can make our wildest dreams comes true!

    Just throw money at it, and win!

    • 0 avatar
      Sinistermisterman

      Yes, throw money at it and watch it never ever work properly.
      Case in point. My car was broken in to one night, right under a Council operated CCTV camera. When the Police asked the Council for the footage…
      “Oh, sorry, no one was monitoring the camera that night and we didn’t record the footage.”
      F-king genius.

  • avatar
    Freddy M

    In other words, the Government wants complete control of your vehicle.

    I want off this ride.

  • avatar
    th009

    Q: “How drivers can be kept from using the phone while passenger can gab away is anybody’s guess.”

    A: “(…) device manufacturers should perfect technology that disables cellphones and other devices when they are within reach of an operator while the vehicle is in operation.”

    No phones for passengers, either.

    • 0 avatar
      raded

      I think the point of that line was that there’s nothing different about talking to someone on the phone and talking to someone in the passenger seat, but one is increasingly illegal and one will never be illegal.

      • 0 avatar
        audipardner

        the person in the seat beside you is also watching the traffic. the conversation can be interrupted for events as they occur on the road. the passenger is also another set of eyes watching traffic conditions. the person on the other end of the phone conversation has no idea when they should pause to allow the driver to concentrate. m’k?

  • avatar
    Dan

    “saying this could cut fatal highway accidents by more than half.”

    Because fatal highway accidents have clearly doubled since cell phones became widespread!

    • 0 avatar
      d524zoom-zoom

      @ Dan

      great Fkin point!! Thank you Sir!

      • 0 avatar
        TR4

        The article actually says:

        The government should require automakers to make the latest collision prevention technologies standard equipment on all new cars and trucks, a move that could reduce fatal highway accidents by more than half

        It’s the collision prevention stuff that could cut the fatalities in half, not the cell phone ban. Much more believable.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      This seems highly unlikely to me. I think we have already reached the point where most fatal accidents are simply NOT survivable no matter what extra gizmos and tech are in the car. You are simply not going to get a 50% reduction no matter what you do or legislate. Unless we go back to requiring every car to be lead by a man on foot with a red flag/lantern. THAT would sure cut down on the fatalities, assuming you don’t run over the flagman. As the saying goes, “you can’t fix stupid”.

  • avatar
    burgersandbeer

    I read the AP story in the link. Tire pressure monitoring and speed-limiting technology was recommended for commercial trucks, not a general recommendation.

    Not trying to be overly picking, but the speed-limiting technology was the item that spiked my blood pressure, and I think that recommendation is misinterpreted here.

    The recommendation to ban portable electronic devices is annoying too, but it is so obviously unenforceable that I just shrug.

    • 0 avatar
      Joe McKinney

      The time to ban cell phone use in cars was in the 1980′s when this technology was first becomming commonplace. Today people consider it their right to use a phone in the car and it will be very difficult to convince them to stop.

      What this ban will do is give the police a specific charge to use for drivers who have accidents while on the phone. As it is these accidents fall into catch-all categories like Distracted Driving or Careless Driving.

    • 0 avatar
      Steve65

      Tire pressure monitoring is required now. I can’t guess why they’re proposing it again.

  • avatar
    chuckrs

    FCC doesn’t like cell phone jammers. Unlicensed broadcast source.

    Would the NTSB’s wish list also include integrated infotainment systems? Maybe employing a sensor that figures out if operation is coming from the driver’s side (disallowed) or the passengers side (allowed). Just kidding.

    As for the rest, apparently they don’t think cars are expensive enough.

    ps – can’t somebody mandate a keyboard that types what I want it to, instead of what my fingers actually do?

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      Jammers are a problem, but Faraday cages are not. It just turns the interior of a car into a place with no signal.

      I don’t like infortainment systems, so I won’t defend them. But it’s quite easy to make a screen non-visible from a certain direction.

      • 0 avatar
        th009

        A navigation screen not visible to the driver … just great!

      • 0 avatar
        chuckrs

        Copper-impregnated door seals to stop leakage from the Faraday cage. What do you do with the glass?
        If it went ahead, and I don’t doubt they might try, by the time the government got around to publishing standards after a comments period, somebody would have come up with a cheap and effective work-around. While I have a great deal of respect for NTSB, it doesn’t seem like anyone has thought this through.

      • 0 avatar
        turbobrick

        Faraday cage, meet external antenna.

      • 0 avatar
        chuckrs

        turbobrick

        external antennas will be illegal

        they’ll hunt down signal traffic like the BBC does with unlicensed/untaxed tellys….

        government gotta lotta people to put to work….

  • avatar
    redliner

    In the near future, every driver will be assigned a government minder that will ride along and ensure that you do not use your phone, program your nav system, eat, drink, blink, or breath while driving.

    • 0 avatar
      rpol35

      Obama – Term II plan for full employment.

    • 0 avatar
      Herm

      The nanny will also drive for you.. its called low cost Artificial Intelligence (AI), it will first be used in large trucks and taxis to save money and then mandated down into the average car. You will have time to browse the internet while you are driving, why do you think Google is spending money on this?

  • avatar
    mr_muttonchops

    I hate the idea of automatic braking. I always compare it to when you’re in driver’s ed and the instructor’s car has it’s own set of brakes. If you have a particularly dickish instructor (or a malfunctioning automatic system) the brakes will be slammed while going over train tracks, and you’ll wish whatever pressed the brakes for you would die horribly.

  • avatar
    Stumpaster

    it’s just like with guns, drivers cause accidents, not cars. eliminate the driver and you have your problem solved. or do something that the Constitution prohibits for the guns – ban cars.

  • avatar
    redav

    If a law was passed banning 100% of cell phone use in cars, I would have no problem with it. I don’t find arguments of “emergencies” and passenger use persuasive.

    And BTW, It’s actually been demonstrated that a cell phone can be set up to tell whether it’s in the driver’s or passenger’s position. IIRC, it ‘talks’ to the car and picks up the differences in speaker distances (like echolocation). However, unless a law is passed requiring drivers (but not passengers) be blocked, the technology will never roll out.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      In areas where police coverage is considered a luxury, I’d rather the police be busy dealing with real criminals than nagging regular folk for talking on their phones.

      First world problems.

      • 0 avatar
        86SN2001

        “In areas where police coverage is considered a luxury, I’d rather the police be busy dealing with real criminals than nagging regular folk for talking on their phones”

        I love ignorant statements like that. Makes me chuckle.

        Police respond to calls when they come in. And a police officer is not going to sit on a traffic stop for a simple ticket when a high priority/high risk call comes in.

        And, if it’s against the law to talk on the phone while driving, then that person the officer has stopped IS a “real” criminal. They comitted a crime.

        It’s really very simple.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        86SN2001, it’s really not that simple. There are some real distinctions between breaking actual laws and mere rules/statutes.

        Of course it would be a police officer’s duty to respond to a real emergency over a cell phone talker, no one is questioning that. However, no matter what, this would just be one more thing that will occupy some of their time rather than working on more important matters.

        I have a few acquaintances who are policemen. They tell me all the time how much they dislike enforcing silly laws like this and would much rather be deterring real crime. And no, just because there is a by-law or some statute, does not make it a crime.

      • 0 avatar
        LuciferV8

        Exactly.

      • 0 avatar
        LuciferV8

        “And, if it’s against the law to talk on the phone while driving, then that person the officer has stopped IS a “real” criminal. They comitted a crime.

        It’s really very simple.”

        I love ignorant statements like that. Makes me chuckle.

        Those evil women driving cars in Saudi Arabia, those evil folks not crying enough over Kim Jong Il in North Korea are all “real” criminals too…

        …if you have a simple enough definition of what crime is.

    • 0 avatar
      BigMeats

      “If a law was passed banning 100% of cell phone use in cars, I would have no problem with it. ”

      Me too, except for one thing: I work in a security ops office and we’re required to constantly monitor local PD comms. I hear many, many dispatches about dangerous drivers initiated by other drivers making in-vehicle calls to the PDs.

      For personal use, I’d ban them in a heartbeat. But there is at least this one legitimate emergency use.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    Of course they would say that. The sole existence of that organization is to crush consumers with costly vehicle legislation.

    Of course this has no basis in reality and certainly doesn’t address the root cause of any of these issues. It just keeps these clowns in business instead of forcing them to get out and get real jobs.

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    George Orwell, if alive, would have to write a sequel to 1984, to include Big Brother in your vehicle.

    Having said that, it is unfortunate that the stupidity of a few becomes the burden of the many. Just last week I attended the funeral of a girl killed by an idiot that was texting while speeding. He lost control, jumped the median, and hit the girl’s vehicle at a combined speed in excess of 90 MPH.
    In that context, I understand that the girl’s parents to support such an initiative. But our civil liberties for the rest of us would be further eroded.

    No easy answers………

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      Interestingly, these scenarios are still played out around here where texting and driving is against the rules.

      It’s Super Effective!

      • 0 avatar
        eamiller

        Because idiotic lawmakers (all?) think that laws banning texting while driving are effective. Instead it creates a situation where people attempt to hide the fact that they are texting which results in their eyes being drawn further away from the road.

        We have mental giants in office.

  • avatar
    Waterview

    “Can you hear me now? No? Wait a minute, I’m in my car” (car stops)

    “Can you hear me now? No? Wait a minute, I need to get out of my car” (unlocks door and steps out of car)

    “Can you hear me now? No? Wait a minute, I’m standing too close to my car” (walks away from car)

    “Can you hear me now? No? Wait, now I can’t get a cell signal . . . .”

  • avatar
    stevelovescars

    A few other suggestions:

    How about some sort of requirement to show that one can actually operate a motor vehicle before handing out licenses? State funding for Skip Barber and Bondurant would be a great start.

    Even better, force all new drivers to ride motorcycles before moving up to cars. Nothing teaches someone to be an alert and defensive driver better than riding a motorcycle in traffic.

    Let’s make automatic transmissions illegal… they must obviously minimize the need to stay focused on driving, reduce any basic understanding of what your car is actually doing to propel you down the road, and makes it easier to hold that illegal cell phone in your unused hand while you read the paper, shave, and put on eye makeup while driving in the left lane at 53 mph.

    I guess my bottom line is that we’ve reached the point of diminishing returns on in-car safety… at least passive safety. The weakest point in the equation is the driver. Not to say I am the greatest driver in the world, I admit to driving while tired, or mad, or just unfocused. But I’ve also been a motorcyclist and classic car owner and when I drive I’m rarely surprised by what happens on the road as I’ve learned to look further ahead and anticipate the worst. Too many people I drive with seem to look no further than the car in front of them and have little understanding of what to do if something bad happens in front of them. For example, I am a huge fan of anti-lock brakes but I wonder what percentage of drivers have the foggiest idea how to make the most of them in a panic stop situation… or even know that their car has them.

    • 0 avatar
      d524zoom-zoom

      Great point as well…Driver’s are the weakest link no question. Sounds like you and i drive the same way, like most of us here on this site. That being said I wonder why there is no actual “nannie” group out there finding these jackasses on the road and kicking them off the road. Take half the staff of the NTSB and IIHS since they seem to know so damned much and use them to find these drivers that have no clue what they are doing when they drive! Then put those drivers in those classes you mention. They could start with operating a fork lift in a warehouse, then graduating to a motorcycle and so on…

    • 0 avatar
      chuckrs

      “makes it easier to hold that illegal cell phone in your unused hand while you read the paper, shave, and put on eye makeup while driving in the left lane at 53 mph. ”

      Women farting in cars. Oops, I mean farding in cars.

    • 0 avatar
      Syke

      You’re forgetting one political reality. That weakest link, the driver, is also the one component that votes. Otherwise (as a 35+ year motorcycle commuter) your idea is excellent.

      If you’re old enough, remember back to 1974 and the short lived, buggy, seat belt interlocks. All new cars came with them, and the lift up the hood, you get one try, override switch if the interlock malfunctioned.

      The scream to the local Congressmen was SO loud that it was probably one of the last times true bipartisanship ruled, and the law was killed stone cold dead in what had to be record time for the deliberative body.

  • avatar
    86SN2001

    Funny, people attacked me (on this site no less) for railing against things like traction control, FWD/AWD, stability control, back up cameras, anti skid control, etc as useless gimmicks. None of that garbage will help you stop in slippery conditions.

    People berated me for saying that as the use of these nanny state systems goes up, the quality of the driver goes down.

    I was slammed for saying that people are using these systems to compensate for their sh!t driving skills.

    People wanted to hang me for saying that if you could not pilot a basic RWD vehicle with an open diff and no traction control in a Minnesota winter, they should not be allowd to hold a license.

    ALL of these systems encourage UNSAFE driving. They give the sheep a false sense of security by masking the conditions of the road from the driver. I have a truck with 4WD, and in the winter I rarely use it in normal driving. I prefer to know what the road conditions are like rather than getting up to speed quickly.

    YOU PEOPLE wanted this. You voted for it a week ago, and you continue to buy vehicles with this crap. Nanny state for all I guess.

    And the irony is amazing. They allow MyFord Touchy, which makes even the most simple tasks difficult and dangerous for everyone on the road, but yet they want to mandate back up cameras because people can’t be bothered to turn around while backing up.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      Woah woah, YOU PEOPLE?

      Haha just kiddin’. I’m with you on this one. The gimmicks can be useful if used properly in certain situations, but relying on them by default is setting yourself up for failure.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      Your beloved Panther ain’t coming back. Get over it already.

      • 0 avatar
        86SN2001

        Huh? This post isn’t even about the Panther appliances. Not sure why you would even bring them up.

        I guess we can just file your attempt at trolling under “irrational ramblings”

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “This post isn’t even about the Panther appliances.”

        Your posts are about living in the past. They’re riddled with inaccuracies tinged with false nostalgia for yesterday and bitterness for today.

        Passive safety technology has a long-established track record of saving lives. This has been so well established that it makes anyone who tries to claim otherwise look ridiculous, since there is no evidence of any kind to support an opposing view.

        Your posts, on the other hand, have a long-established track record of being shrill, inaccurate and redundant. More air than an airbag, but not nearly as useful.

    • 0 avatar
      icemilkcoffee

      Actually the nanny state has done very well by us. New cars are much better performing, more fuel efficient and safer than the cars of yore thanks to government regulations. The accident rate per mile traveled has been dropping for the last 20+ years. Fatality rates have gone done dramatically as well.

      Accident and fatality rates for motorcycles, on the other hand, have only gone down slightly since the 70′s. This is what happens in the absence of government regulations. Motorcycles are vastly faster now. But no safer. ABS brakes could change that- but up to now it’s still a rarity and an expensive option.

      • 0 avatar
        Robstar

        I don’t think ABS is necessarily expensive on bikes. I think the cbr250r at $4500 MSRP has them…

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        You credit regulations, I would credit consumer demand. Most safety features were added and popular well before they were mandated.

        Many individual features still truly aren’t mandatory, yet still sell well.

        In response to actual problems, most regulations are a day late and a dollar short.

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        The fatality rate has been dropping for more than 20 years. It has been dropping almost continuously since about 1950, with a blip around 1962-67, which was likely caused by the massive influx of baby boomer drivers, and another one in 1979-81.

        An increase in motorcycle fatalities was likely being driven by a huge increase in motorcycle sales. Motorcycle registrations increased by 75 percent between 1997 and 2006.

        The number of motorcycle fatalities has declined since 2008.

    • 0 avatar
      Kevin

      Except that Ray LaHood, the secretary of the NTSB, is a registered Republican. Nice try with the “YOU PEOPLE” bit, though.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        Roy LaHood is the Secretary of Transportation. He is not involved with the NTSB.

        The NTSB is an independent government agency. The NTSB is chaired by Deborah Hersman. She was appointed to the NTSB by GW Bush, and promoted to the chairman position by Obama.

        Her bio: http://www.ntsb.gov/about/bio_hersman.html

    • 0 avatar
      LuciferV8

      You got a good point there. I suppose the trick is to have driving competency tests become part of the licensing process.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert Gordon

      “People berated me for saying that as the use of these nanny state systems goes up, the quality of the driver goes down.”

      Quite rightly berated you too, because you are wrong.

      • 0 avatar
        86SN2001

        How so?

        I am completely, 100% correct. Every day people supplement proper driving skills with stupid electronic gimmicks.

        These gimmicks make the roads far more dangerous for the reasons I posted above.

      • 0 avatar
        Robert Gordon

        I don’t know if you’re being a troll or what, but it is utterly evident that safety features on vehicles and better infrastructure is having a huge effect on reducing the road toll.

        Take stability control for instance, there are now numerous academic studies proving just how effective it is, so where is your evidence to the contrary?

    • 0 avatar
      dtremit

      “They allow MyFord Touchy, which makes even the most simple tasks difficult and dangerous for everyone on the road, but yet they want to mandate back up cameras because people can’t be bothered to turn around while backing up.”

      Nice rant, but backup cameras provide a much more comprehensive view than it’s theoretically possible to get by turning around — particularly things lower than the rear decklid of the car. Like, y’know, children. ~100 a year die being backed over.

      Besides, with rollover regulations ratcheting up, rear visibility from many cars is practically nonexistent. Ever try backing up a new Grand Cherokee (or worse yet, a Camaro)? Can’t see much of anything.

    • 0 avatar
      DrunkenDonuts

      I love how everything on the internet boils down to, “Obama’s fault!” The expansion of federal power has been increasing over time with both parties. If you think that for one second the GOP is somehow immune from blame for the massive increase of power, then you are unable to view things clearly. I don’t understand how Republicans fail to see that lowering taxes while increasing spending on two wars is somehow, MAGICALLY, good for deficit…

      I’m speaking as an independent who despises both parties as they are both 100% guilty of over spending and increasing the power of the state. I guess I’m one of those “weird” moderates who want a fiscally responsible yet socially moderate government. THE HORROR!

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    What about the added chance for injury or death when you have to go to the store again because your wife couldn’t call you when you were on the way to the store the first time to tell you to buy a loaf of bread?

    What I think about the NHTSA’s overreaching on this issue is NSFW.

  • avatar
    Dirk Stigler

    “They allow MyFord Touchy”

    A mere oversight. Back then, “they” probably figured Ford would soon be government property like GM, and didn’t want to hobble its emerging cool factor. Now that Ford has recovered on its own with no bailout, and Obama won reelection, he’ll be landing hard with both feet on the dissidents in Dearborn directly.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    The NTSB is an independent agency. It can’t force anyone to do anything. All it can do is make recommendations, and those recommendations can be ignored, compromised, whittled away or forgotten.

  • avatar
    icemilkcoffee

    Now that every new car has bluetooth onboard- I predict cell phone will not be an issue much longer.

    Texting while driving, on the other hand, is just wrong. It should absolutely be banned.

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      I agree…this issue will decline over time. I defintely want my next car to have hands-free phone capability.

      • 0 avatar
        mkirk

        You can get a new head unit for like 250 bucks that has this built in. Both my vehicles (a 1990 and a 1993) have this capability now. I suppose my motorcycle does too since I have the bluetooth talk box for listening to tunes, but if I’m riding I dont want to talk to anyone.

  • avatar
    JohnTheDriver

    TTAC continues to be all butt-hurt over the election I see. Keep those tears flowing. Those sweet delicious tears. The view from the trailer park will never get old. ROTFLMAO!!!!11!

  • avatar
    rpol35

    NTSB needs to get off of the automobile regulation kick and start on the drivers. It’s not the cars, it is the indescribably stupid things people do when they are behind the wheel that is the problem.

    • 0 avatar
      Sinistermisterman

      *Applause*

      I don’t know what the system is like everywhere else in North America, but from the province and state (BC & Washington) where I took tests and got a license, the standard of driving skill needed to pass these tests is very low. Sorry to say it, but getting my license in the UK was much, MUCH harder.
      Perhaps it’s just the sheer number of miles driven which increases the likelihood of having an accident in North America compared to most European countries, or even the way roads are laid out, but I’d wager driver training and skill is also a very big factor.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        Here I go again…

        Driver training does not reduce crash rates. Drivers do what they feeling like doing, with or without training.

        There are countries that have strict licensing regimes that have lower crash rates than the US, and there are others with higher crash rates. There are countries with liberal licensing policies with lower crash rates, and others with higher crash rates.

        There is no positive correlation between training and safety. I know that drivers desperately want to believe otherwise, but it just isn’t true.

      • 0 avatar
        Sinistermisterman

        Huh. Well fair enough. Got any links… sorry, things I can Google… which examine this further? I was just going on the number of road accidents and deaths per country and then having a read about the standards of driver training in those countries. From what I was reading it just seemed like – low or non existent standards of driver training = lots of accidents. High standards of driver training = less accidents. But then again when you factor in everything else (quality of roads etc), I guess it would be hard to prove it was entirely down to the drivers.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        Nope no links. PCH came up with one once, but it had one major flaw and the article admitted it. He keeps repeating “countless studies” over and over, but it was like pulling teeth just to get the one flawed study out of PCH.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “From what I was reading it just seemed like – low or non existent standards of driver training = lots of accidents. High standards of driver training = less accidents.”

        The US and Canada have lower fatality rates per kilometer than Japan, France or Belgium, all of which have strict licensing regime. Fatality rates vary widely among countries,and you can’t point to licensing as the dominant factor.

        Here’s a study to get you started: http://eprints.qut.edu.au/7295/2/7295.pdf Its conclusions are typical; those who study the subject know that training is generally ineffective, and that public perception is out of touch with reality. Don’t expect Denver to understand this; it’s pretty obvious that he doesn’t understand studies when provided with them.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        @PCH,

        “Early Evaluations of high school driver education courses in the USA were very encouraging. However, many of these evaluations were plagued by methodical problems (eg. the use of self-selected samples, a persistent feature of the research in this area).”

        “Students that undertook the (drivers ed) program generally obtained their licences earlier, resulting in an increased potential for them to be involved in crashes”

        This is from your link and presumably the best you’ve got. So how am I not understanding? Sounds more like you’re cherry picking the parts of the study that backup your lame opinion.

        Bottom line, drivers ed isn’t what causes 16 year old kids to crash. Being 16 does. I don’t know if you remember or if you drove at 16, but looking back at it, I should’ve been banned until 18.

    • 0 avatar
      Syke

      Cars don’t vote. Drivers vote.

  • avatar
    oobitsa

    A policy recommendation that could reduce traffic fatalities by half is not one to be taken lightly. It should receive some sort of consideration.

    That said, I think the idea sucks and I agree with folks who say we should strive to better educate our drivers.

    Remember, folks, that guns don’t kill people. The people that like guns kill people.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      Except there is no way that traffic fatalities could possibly be cut in half by these recommendations. Like was already hinted at, traffic fatalities haven’t increased since the advent of personal gadgetry, they have in fact declined.

      Even by including the rises and declines of other factors in accidents, it’s hard to make a case for that statement.

    • 0 avatar
      noxioux

      Since they’ll never legalize taking potshots at phoning/texting drivers, I think that it should be permissable to throw an empty beer bottle at the windshield of anyone you see texting or phoning while driving.

  • avatar
    FJ60LandCruiser

    Car radios should also be banned, because that is a distraction from road noises which could prevent a carsh. The car should have separate partitions for driver and passengers, so that conversations should not interfere with safe operation.

    Anything resembling an LCD panel cannot be within the field of vision of the driver.

    HVAC controls, seat controls, mirror controls, etc. can only be adjusted while the car is in park and the emergency brake is engaged, to prevent possible accidents from distraction.

    The car is to be connected wirelessly to transponders on the side of all major roads, which immediately set a built-in governor to the speed limit. G-sensors in the car prevent unnecessary acceleration and the gas pedal prudently accelerates the car to the prescribed speed limit at an economic pace. These same transponders will prevent illegal maneuvers, like reversing the car or U-turns except in prescribed areas.

    Biometrics devices which monitor blood pressure, eye movement, heart rate, respiratory rate, rectal tone, and pupillary reflex are to be installed in every car to determine driver alertness. A car won’t start without a breathalyzer analysis mounted to the steering column. Cars driven by anyone under 18 after a government sanctioned curfew will become inoperable and must be retrieved by the legal guardian.

    Sensors connected to a national weather database will render vehicles inoperable in inclement weather to prevent drivers from being hurt by thunderstorms, blizzards, etc, and won’t allow the cars to be driven into areas of extreme weather. Also the car will become inoperable if tire pressure falls below what is deemed to be safe for normal operations.

  • avatar
    ringomon

    Don’t take this as implicit agreement with the suggestions that are being made here, which I completely agree overreach and should not be mandated. I just think that common arguments like comparing passengers to cellphone calls actually weakens the case against it.

    From personal experience and from studies I’ve seen, there’s a huge difference between carrying on a conversation with a passenger in the car or listening to the radio and talking on the phone, hands free or not. Passengers in the car have a natural situational awareness of the current circumstances that you’re driving in, and the radio doesn’t ask you to engage in dialogue, so it’s more easily and immediately ignored. The danger with a phone is that it takes your mental space outside of the immediate surroundings. Again, hands free or not. Doesn’t make much of a difference actually.

    Anecdotal evidence, but how many times have you seen a car driving erratically from a distance and you just know that person is talking on the phone, only to be confirmed when you drive past them (in an attempt to get far away from them.) You don’t think, “wow, I bet that guys talking to a passenger/listening to the radio”

    • 0 avatar
      ringomon

      …either that, or dealing with kids in the backseat. Driving with kids should be banned. (I kid)

    • 0 avatar
      DC Bruce

      Actually, in 1977, I was rear-ended while sitting at a red traffic signal. The driver whose car struck mine was woman who said she had turned around to deal with her fussy infant, who was in the back seat.

      Wasn’t much damage; no one was hurt because of the low speeds involved. Some of the safety gadgets the NTSB would have prevented this collision by automatically hitting the brakes. But the cost-benefit ratio of this strikes me as pretty low. Yeah, I understand that if I had been standing in the street when the woman did what she did and her car hit me, I would have been injured or killed. But how often does that happen? More likely is that pedestrian-car collisions do not happen at slow speeds in a parking lot; they happen because someone is running a red light and the pedestrian didn’t see the car coming; or a car is making a right turn and doesn’t yield to the pedestrians who are crossing the street. Or they happen as they did in my neighborhood a few years ago when a guy stepped out into the street (not at an intersection) at night and the driver who hit him didn’t see him. The speed limit on that street is 30. And the victim was returning from his favorite neighborhood hangout: Nanny O’Brian’s bar. So, you can figure out the rest of that story.

  • avatar
    raded

    It’s legal to drive if you only have 1 arm, right? And it’s legal to talk to passengers in the car? Why then should it be illegal to hold a phone to your head and talk to someone on the phone?

    • 0 avatar
      Steve65

      Because it quantifiably and significantly increases the risk that you will cause a wreck, and harm other people.

      You can pretend that talking to a passenger is the same as talking on a phone all you want. All that accomplishes is demonstrating that you’d rather play the ideologue than actually attempt to understand and address the issue.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        No, the passenger can be a bigger distraction than a cell call, especially if they start an argument. At least you can hang up on a someone that’s being an ass and ignore call backs.

        As a passenger, you should keep the conversation light and help the driver scan for hazards and stop signs, red/green lights, etc, because you’re always a distraction.

        Even a completely silent or sleeping passenger will block some outward visibility and blind spot.

        ALL passengers are a distraction to some degree. Even if they’re in the trunk…

      • 0 avatar
        mkirk

        When conducting route clearance in Baghdad I would drive down the road with a crane extended with a camera on the end looking for IEDs on the other side of T walls. I’d have to watch the road, the camera, and make sure I didn’t bang the crabe into anything and try not to get blown up. If I had to talk on the radio I drove with my knees and if I had to take a leak I would add trying to pee in a gatorade bottle to all this. And if you do get caught talking and driving look at all the crap the Cop who stops you was likely doing while he drove 80mph to catch up to you and pull you over. I don’t see what the issue is with hands-free devices.

  • avatar
    bikemobile

    DWHUA official cop term

    Driving with head up ass

  • avatar
    reclusive_in_nature

    How about upping the offense of vehicular manslaughter to second degree murder and assault and battery for accidents without fatalities/injuries. Once a few morons get sentenced to a decade or two in prison word will get around that talking and texting while driving just isn’t worth it.

  • avatar
    audipardner

    it’s about damned time. as a former cab driver/truck driver/motorcycle racer i can tell you from first-hand experience that cell phones should NEVER be used by the driver of a vehicle. while i was driving taxis i had 2-4 incidents per SHIFT of idiots nearly causing accidents while using their phones. in 7 yearsin the cab i had ONE incident where an obviously drunk person was an issue. cell phones are the worst thing to happen to driving in my lifetime. i’ve been driving professionally (trucks, vans, cars, motorcycles) since 1972 and drunk driving has been an issue maybe a half dozen times total. cellphones: EVERY DAY. there is no phone conversation so important it’s worth killing me. HANG UP AND DRIVE!

    • 0 avatar
      86SN2001

      Please.

      What utter nonsense.

      You know, when radios were first introduced in automobiles, there was the same type of outcry? Congress held hearings I believe on the dangers of radios in automobiles.

      Having grown up with cell phones, I personally do not have any issue driving and using my phone. I can text, navigate, use Pandora, talk on it, etc. The difference is that I still have driving as my priority. I scan my mirrors just as often, look all over the place, concentrate on road signs, etc. It is possible.

      All of these nanny state electronic gimmicks are far more dangerous than cell phones. Giving drivers a false sense of security by masking road conditions affects FAR more people than cell phones.

      • 0 avatar
        Marko

        But if you’re texting, where are you looking…hint, it’s nowhere near any part of the road. Not a good idea, no matter what the law says or doesn’t say.

        Talking on cell phones while driving is neither the greatest not the worst idea (though Bluetooth indeed helps to keep you paying attention to the road). Texting, on the other hand, is basically assuming that NOTHING will happen in front of your several-ton vehicle for several seconds while you type that “ZOMG LOL OMG WTF” that surely couldn’t wait. Idiotic and potentially deadly.

      • 0 avatar
        audipardner

        in reply to 86SN2001: i’m certain you are not as good a driver as you think you are. i speak from personal experience as a 40 year professional driver. you cannot have a phone conversation and drive at the same time. other activities within the vehicle do not take your attention to some other place the way a phone conversation does. the reason you think you drive well while on the phone is because you do not know what problems you have caused other drivers as you attempted to multi-task. this is not meant as an indictment of you personally. this is a general observation of mine as both a driver and as a passenger of someone talking on the phone. i have asked to be let out of the vehicle if the driver will not hang up, and have actually been let out after a driver ran 2 red lights and would not hang up. he would not believe me when i told him he had run red lights. i mean no disrespect, but a driver should NEVER talk on the phone. HANG UP AND DRIVE.

      • 0 avatar
        86SN2001

        I have been taught professionally how to drive. I have been driving emergency vehicles for years and I can tell you that a laptop, radio, lights and siren are far more distracting than a simple cell phone conversation.

        But, I know how to manage those distractions.

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    I always wonder how we got to the point where we think if we just ban things that they will stop happening….

    Well, then we can try sending you to prison for life. That will stop it, right?

    All these laws do is make people feel good because they think they “did something”, don’t actually do a thing to improve safety, and turn mostly good, reasonable, people into criminals.

    Just Ban It!

    Feel the same way about speed limits. Set way too low for efficient, and safe driving, then they smack you with insane fines for minor infractions of the limit, when no harm has been done to anything or anybody.

    Really bothers me frankly.

  • avatar
    Geekcarlover

    Even if all the technological upgrades were implemented, you’d still have the problem of the older cars on the road. Oh, I’ve got an idea, make them retroactive. Since this would be cost prohibitive for most vehicles, they’d have to be junked. It’s Cash for Clunkers 2.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    Well, if you compare the AP story linked to this article, you will find that, according to the AP’s account, the 50% reduction in fatalities would come from all of the other suggestions they made, not the cellphone ban. Many of those technologies were proposed to be mandated on commercial vehicles; they’re already on cars. Frankly, if you ever watched a semi driver try to stop his rig in a hurry, it’s a scary signt . . . and when you imagine the potential for damage that an out of control semi . . . or even a garbage truck, can create I see no reason why ABS and DSC should not be mandated for those vehicles.

    The cellphone part is more difficult. I agree that a driver’s use of a cellphone (whether handheld, speakerphone or with a wireless earpiece) is problematic, because it takes the driver “out of the car” psychologically in a way that talking with a passenger does not. Although I have a Bluetooth earpiece (pretty much a necessity since I drive a manual), I only have it and use it so I’m not out of touch. And on my daily commute, a “conversation” if it happens consists of me saying “I’ll call you back from home/office in 30 minutes.” I really don’t like the experience of driving and talking on a cellphone . . . but then my wife complains that when I drive I don’t talk to anybody in the car. . . so, what can I say?

    I was amused by the reference to “vessels” inasmuch as just about any boat bigger than an outboard powered skiff is likely to have a marine VHF radio for communicating with other vessels. NTSB wants to ban that, too?

    The problem with all of this electronic nanny stuff is that it is always framed as “we’re going to save lives . . . and it won’t cost too much.” The reality is that what it’s going to do is impose costs on everyone . . . and it might, or might not, save lives. Lane departure warning saving lives? GMAFB!

  • avatar
    el scotto

    Have any of you been ticketed for using a cellphone while driving or know anyone who’s been ticketed for it? There’s hollow laws that aren’t enforced.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      I doubt there’s any serious crackdowns on cellphone use anymore and it’s really just goes into the bag of tricks LE has to stop suspicious characters otherwise obeying all the laws.

      I see drivers on their cellphones all the damn time. And I’m one of them. I keep my talk time to a minimum while driving, but I’ve been doing that for decades.

      And no I’ve never been ticketed for it nor do I know of anyone, firsthand.

      • 0 avatar
        mkirk

        Talk on a phone on a military installation while driving and let me know how that works out. The MPs are just waiting for this. My wife got a ticket in upstate NY (off post) also for this. All depends on the state.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      Yes, 1 person. But it really depends on the juristiction. In areas where police literally have something more important to occupy themselves with, you don’t see it.

      In areas where officers are heavily pressured into issuing tickets to meet a “suggestion” of a target from their supervisors, distracted driving tickets are more common. So you can see how these rules can be easily used to prop up quotas. Just don’t call them quotas.

    • 0 avatar
      Dukeboy01

      I have written two in the last two years and they both involved texting, not talking on the phone, which is still legal in KY. I wrote one on Tuesday when some goof decided to pass my silver unmarked Crown Victoria with offical plates and a radio antenna on it’s rear deck on the right at over 80 mph while holding his cellphone up in front of his face and texting. Kinda figured a lesson in situational awareness was well- deserved.

      The other one was a clown who blew a red light in front of me by about four seconds and then didn’t notice my lights for a block and a half until I bumped my siren because he was texting away with his phone resting on the steering wheel.

      Other than that, no, not really. I see it a lot more but I don’t bother unless it’s really obvious that they’re clueless.

      No one I know sits around looking for folks on their phones to stop. If the stop gets made, it’s because the distraction caused some other problem that the person could be cited for independently., like running a red light.

  • avatar
    ranwhenparked

    I hate to say it, but the automakers sort of brought this on themselves, by lobbying against joining the World Forum for Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations, which would create one uniform set of safety standards worldwide. They wanted the US market to continue having it’s own impenetrable standards to keep out the grey market. You dance with the devil, you have to expect to get burned. Of course, in this case, everyone gets burned.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      Brought it upon themselves? Automakers aren’t railing against these rules. It’s an opportunity for them to sell more content and pass the cost along to you!

      If enacted, this is a crony-capitalist gift to the automakers.

      • 0 avatar
        ranwhenparked

        Did you even read the linked article? The auto industry actually is lobbying against implementing these recommendations, right now. If prices increase too much too rapidly, sales could collapse in an already tenuous market. There’s only so much cost that can be reasonably passed on to the consumer, some of these costs will have to be eaten by the manufacturer, either through reduced sales or thinner margins.

  • avatar
    mkirk

    probably should also ban trying to eat a 10 pack of Tacos with a giant soda between your legs while driving. And ban tilt steering so you can’t drive with your knees.

  • avatar
    Whuffo2

    I’m constantly amazed by some of the comments I see here. Here’s what’s been happening: large numbers of people are dying in auto accidents. Worse, huge numbers are permanently disabled in horrible ways. People cry “why is this, what can we do to prevent it?”

    So research is done and gradually things are discovered that increase the number of accidents. Eating, makeup, cell phones are all contributors to death and destruction; those who say they’re fine driving with one hand are overlooking the simple fact that your brain can’t multitask very well. If you’re focused on a text message or a phone call – or getting your eye shadow right or forcing another burger into your mouth – you’re not paying full attention to driving. Texting while driving isn’t certain death – but it does increase the chance of death or serious injury significantly. That’s proven.

    Next, the results of this research was spread through the news media, drivers licensing agencies, insurance company handouts, etc. I don’t think there’s any licensed driver in the US that hasn’t heard that doing other things while driving is a bad idea.

    But you didn’t take it to heart; you make excuses and keep on doing those dangerous things. The toll in human life and health is too high and you can’t control yourself, so now the government is going to step in to try to get you to be more responsible behind the wheel.

    Try this: there are “long term care” facilities in every community. They’re full of broken people who are no longer capable of taking care of themselves or living a normal life. Grab a big box of cookies from your local store and go visit one. The cookies will be appreciated, and the people warehoused there would be thrilled to have some human contact. Plan to spend half of a day or more – and don’t forget to ask each one what happened to put them in this position. You’ll be surprised to discover that the vast majority of them got there as the result of an auto accident. And almost always it was caused by something completely unexpected that they didn’t notice until it was too late.

    The chance you’ll be killed or permanently disabled is higher than you think. Not so high that you couldn’t break all the rules and live a long life – but high enough that even if you could, your wife and children might not be so lucky. Driving a motor vehicle is the most dangerous thing you’ll ever do and so many seem to think they’re indestructible. You’re not, and those care homes and the cemeteries are full of people who thought they would never have an accident.

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      The fatality rate per 100 million miles is at a record low figure, and the raw number of fatalities is at 1950 levels. So driving is apparently much safer than you think.

    • 0 avatar
      ranwhenparked

      Cars are already safe enough, death rates are already at acceptable levels, given the number of cars on the road, number of licensed drivers, and cumulative number of miles driven per year. The NTSB and NHTSA have already succeeded in their original mission(s), if they wanted to, they could declare victory right now and just go away, but they need to do something to justify their continued existence (and the continued employment of their staff).

  • avatar
    Micah

    All of this reminds me why I will never buy a modern new car. My two daily drivers have:
    Manual transmissions
    No traction control
    Manual door locks
    Crank windows
    Analog gauges
    No tire pressure sensors
    No speed limiters

    I like to drive my car, not be driven by it. Past EFI and air bags, I have no use for over-technologized, overweight vehicles.

  • avatar

    As long, as a semi-idiotic believe in new regulations (allegedly bringing progress and improvement) prevails in a given society you will end up in proposals like that.
    As long, as an idiotic proposal like that is not killed immediately by massive counter-actions on side of the public you will end up with more idiotic proposals.
    The more idiotic proposals are transformed into laws, the more your live becomes cumbersome (with the added bonus of paying higher taxes).


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