Why All Mobile Phone Use Should Be Banned While Driving

December 14th, 2011

Texting while driving accident

If there’s any lingering question as to why cell phones and driving should never be used in combination, the picture above should clear it up pretty quick.

Between the bus and the big rig is what’s left of a pickup, which was being driven by a 19-year-old kid. Just prior to slamming into the semi, the young driver had sent or received 11 text messages in as many minutes. Just after the collision, two school busses joined the chain reaction, killing a 15-year-old student. The texting driver also died. Two tragic losses that defy rationalization.

You’ve probably seen the images from last August’s crash and read the story already, but it’s a powerful reminder of the dangers phones create for everyone on the road. To prevent accidents like this and future deaths, should cell-phone use be banned outright for drivers across the United States? One government body thinks so.

Yesterday, the National Transportation Safety Board recommended a nationwide ban on any use of a mobile phone while driving. That includes talking, texting and even hands-free operation.

While the NTSB can’t actually make that law, it can use its influence to persuade lawmakers to pass a bill making any non-emergency phone use illegal. In addition to that, the group doesn’t want drivers using any electronic or Internet-connected device in the car. That presents a challenge to consumers and automakers, since many Internet-enabled infotainment systems are starting to come embedded into vehicles. And what about GPS?

Turn it off

As things stand now, mobile phone bans are the responsibility of the states. Thirty-five states currently ban texting while driving, and just 10 outlaw any mobile phone use.

NTSB member Robert Sumwalt said, “This (distracted driving) is becoming the new DUI. It’s becoming epidemic.”

He’s right. Drivers are so addicted to connectivity that they risk their lives, and the lives of others, just to indulge in the brief “high” of sending or receiving a text.

A nationwide ban wouldn’t likely do much to curb the use of phones while driving, but maybe it would at least create awareness of the problem. No more kids should die because of texting. Illegal or not, my phone will be off from now on while I’m driving. I hope you’ll join me.

Will you turn your phone off while driving a car?

-tgriffith

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  1. Randy
    December 15th, 2011 at 15:56 | #1

    Nothing but denial and wishful thinking here, folks, and a number of people who will become future statistics. That’s why a ban won’t work. People like Jim and Mike have gotten away with it in the past, and think they will get away with it in the future. (most likely that’s what the kid driving the pickup thought just before he died, too.)
    The only practical way I can think of to address this problem is to classify this behaviour as gross and willful negligence, which opens the cell phone user to a world of legal hurt when there is an accident. (triple damages in most states for a starter.) Also, insurance companies should require drivers to agree to refrain from cell phone while driving as a condition to be insured and refuse to pay for the drivers costs in accidents they cause because of cell phone use while driving.

  2. December 14th, 2011 at 13:39 | #2

    Also, don’t forget about radios, which almost every car has now. Are they gonna ban those?

  3. Jim Redd
    December 14th, 2011 at 13:05 | #3

    I’m with Mike on this one. On my drive this morning I got a call I had to take. I used speaker phone and kept my attention on the road. Certainly would have seen a stopped semi in front of me! Government shouldn’t get involved in this… it’s a matter of personal choice.

  4. December 14th, 2011 at 13:01 | #4

    Don’t just single out one dumb behavior because there are so many.
    A distracted driver law would be my weapon of choice.
    If a cop saw you eating, texting, shaving, arguing with the person in the back seat. Or anything that is taking your attention away from the road you should get a warning ticket. After 3 you get to talk to a judge.
    If you are involved in an accident and it is determined that you where distracted by texting or something equally stupid you should be charged with contributing to the accident, which would leave you open to possible civil actions (getting sued).

  5. December 14th, 2011 at 12:04 | #5

    While I do agree that this is a tragic event, I personally will continue to use my phone while driving. I very rarely text while driving and the only time that I do text is while I’m at a stoplight. However, I will continue to make phone calls in my car. I am getting a hands-free solution, (a car-mount and bluetooth for my RAZR) but will continue to use my phone without it until I get it to make phone calls. I think that one can make a phone call while paying attention to the road. The main problem is that so many people don’t pay attention to the road while on the phone. I’ve seen people using their mirrors in their visors while driving presumably to put on make-up (or maybe they’re just checking themselves out, I’m not sure) and that is much more dangerous than making a phone call or even texting while driving yet their is no great demand for car manufacturers to take mirrors out of cars. Just today, on my way home from class I saw someone fixing her hair in her mirror while waiting for a light and then she continued to sit there, stopped in the middle of the road, for 10 seconds until someone had to honk at her. And what about eating while driving or drinking coffee/pop/water while driving. Are those not equally as dangerous? Or talking to someone in the passenger’s seat while driving? That’s no more dangerous than talking on your phone with a hands-free device, yet there are no outcries for only allowing one person in a car at one time. I could go on and on, but I believe I’ve made my point. There are many things as dangerous as or more dangerous than talking on the phone or texting while driving. If one must be banned, then they all should be banned.

  1. December 14th, 2011 at 14:01 | #1