Transportation Secretary Won’t Ban Hands-Free Use of Mobile Phones
Even though the NTSB recommends it, LaHood says he just won’t back it.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced yesterday that he would not support the National Transportation Safety Board proposal to ban all cell-phone use while operating a motor vehicle, even though he is still committed to combating distracted driving.
Last week, the NTSB urged states to prohibit the use of all cell phones and other portable electronic devices while driving. That means no texting or calling, not even from a hands-free device, while behind the wheel.
The NTSB made the recommendation in response to a deadly collision in Missouri last year that it blamed, in part, on a driver who was texting while operating the vehicle. The NTSB doesn't have the authority to impose restrictions, but its recommendations often influence federal regulators as well as congressional and state lawmakers.
While LaHood doesn’t condemn the NTSB initiative, he does say that it goes too far by calling for the ban of both hands-free and hand-held use. “Hands-free is not the big problem," LaHood recently told reporters.
LaHood prefers to focus on hand-held calls. In doing so, he has won the support of automakers, many which have spent billions of dollars on technologies such as Ford's Sync to keep drivers connected.
Across the country, 35 states have already passed laws restricting text messaging while driving, and nine require drivers to use hands-free devices while talking on the phone.
What do you think? Will banning mobile phone use help solve America’s distracted driving problem, or will it hinder people from doing their jobs, for example, and put a real crimp in their style?
As a professional truck driver,normally I find Ray LaHood to be an overzealous windbag (Yo Ray,how's that Hours of Service thing coming along? Going to waste some more of our millions of dollars to solve a non-issue?) I've got to agree with him on this one. Ban handheld/texting conversations,not hands free.
I'd also go along with a total ban on cell phone useage of ANY kind for new drivers and drivers under the age of 18.
You can't legislate intelligence. The thing I find unsettling is how out of nearly 300 million registered drivers, of those 82% own cell phones, they're reporting 2010 figures of 3,000 accidents caused by cell phones. We don't want anyone to loose their lives, or endanger the lives of others, but this number is way too low to even be fooling with, in my opinion.
There are many other distractions like stray dogs, prostitutes and other wildlife, potholes, loud music and exhausts, that cause many more accidents.
I can guarantee you there have been many more lives save by a person having a cell phone in the car when a crime or accident happened.
i am a truck driver too. With my cell phone in my truck at night, i have called the law on a lot of drunk drivers and I have reported a few of accidents. Now if you take our cell phone away from the drives doesn't matter if you are a truck drive or a regular everyday driver when you issuer a amber alert and we see the automobile or if we see a wreck and i have to drive up the road 2 miles to a pay phone, how many people are gonna die while I'm trying to get to a phone when i could just pick up my phone and call the police right then and there.
Banning any type of cell phone useage in this economy with do away with jobs in some aspect or another. It's no big suprise the ban was....well banned.
@Confused in PDX
Good point! To take it one step further, what about smokers? Ever since smoking was banned in just about every imaginable place, smokers have taken to smoking in their cars more and more. How many smokers drive with both hands on the wheel while smoking? Why isn't banning smoking while driving being considered? I am sure there have been accidents caused by smokers trying to retreive dropped cigarette butts from the floors of their cars. Next to talking on cell phones I would argue the second most common activity, while driving, is smoking.
EXPLORE NEW CARS
MORE ON MSN AUTOS
ABOUT EXHAUST NOTES
Cars are cool, and here at MSN Autos we love everything about them, but we also know they're more than simply speed and style: a car is an essential tool, a much-needed accessory to help you get through your day-to-day life. What you drive is also one of the most important investments you can make, so we'll help you navigate your way through the car buying and ownership experiences. We strive to be your daily destination for news, notes, tips and tricks from across the automotive world. So whether it's through original content from our world-class journalists or the latest buzz from the far corners of the Web, Exhaust Notes helps you make sense of your automotive world.
Have a story idea? Tip us off at firstname.lastname@example.org.