US government calls for ban of all cellphone use in cars

If the National Transportation and Safety Board has its way, US citizens would be banned from talking on any cellphone or personal electronic devices while they are driving a moving vehicle. Today, the Washington Post reports that the NTSB will hold a press conference later today to go over the details of its recommendations.

The proposed ban on cellphone use while driving follows the completion of an investigation by the NTSB of a massive car pile up in Missouri in 2010 where two people died and 38 people were injured. One of the two people who was killed was the 19 year old driver of a pickup truck who either sent or received 11 text messages on his cellphone over a period of 11 minutes before his truck collided with a school bus full of children.

There is one exception to this recommendation. The NTSB says that cellphones and other similar devices can be used by drivers in emergency situations; Bluetooth devices are also excluded from the recommendation list.

While the board has no authority to create or enforce traffic and safety laws, its recommendations could influence state lawmakers into taking action. It's more than possible that a large number of US states, if not all of them, will draft laws that will follow the NTSB's proposals.

Update: CNN reports that this ban would not apply to hands-free devices.

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They need to ban cell phones in cars. I swear every time I'm driving where I live people cannot do anything right. You'll see people pulling out of a store, or something going really slow, driving down the wrong lane in a parking lot at a store, switching lanes without signalling, not moving when the light is green, or driving too slow. All while on a stupid cell phone.

If you can use a cell phone that goes through a speaker or something, then that's fine, but not will holding it.

They have fines of $200-$250 if you are on a cell phone while going through a school zone, but that is about it.

Ban them and ban them NOW! Driving, walking thru a mall, IN A DAMN THEATER people are on a cell phone... I say ban them in cars for sure and Theaters need to step up and ban them from even being ON or Opened up while movie is going. The lights alone will light up a whole room on them. Movie over = 100 phones light up....makes me sick! I leave mine in the car when I go to a movie, if someone needs me bad enough they can find me or wait...its just that damn simple and don't you think for a second I won't say nothing to someone with a phone open to close it or I'll get up and tell management to tell you!

OK, here we go. Texting is NOT (repeat) NOT limited to SMS MESSAGES, it's ANY (and I do mean) *ANY* interaction with your phone DURING driving, and driving is you turn the key to on.. even if vehicle is NOT moving is "driving". . . . Until that key is OFF you are driving, and it's ILLEGAL to "text". Now we know people are idiots (not saying anyone in this forum is included, but you DO know who you are... ) and people cannot control themselves. I find myself on the verge of rage when I see some woman texting, light changes, and she is busy tapping on her phone, or someone that weaves while driving, or not paying attention at a bus stop full of kids.

I am going to be mean.. I *HOPE* that people that find this law repulsive and you don't agree with it at face value, I *HOPE* your wife, girlfriend, significant other gets run over on a sidewalk or a parking lot, or you get rear ended at a light, or someone in your family gets killed as a result of a TEXTing driver, because *THEN* maybe you will take it serious, you won't REALIZE the impact UNTIL it happens to you. *WHEN* that day happens, what price did you pay by some MORON not putting the god damn phone down?

You cannot be trusted, and we need LAWS (unfortunately) to stop dumb ass compulsive people from doing it. PERIOD.

Extreme!? You bet your ASS it is, and if any of you dip****s get in my way while driving in your car, and you have a phone in your hand, guess what.. CAN of GRADE 'A" Whup ASS is coming your way.

Edited by rijp, Dec 13 2011, 10:13pm :

I have a laptop in my vehicle for work and I am contantly using it. Not usually typing messages and things but regularly clicking around and such. As long as you don't follow closly behind people when you do it and don't take your eyes off the road for more than a second your fine. I also don't use my laptop when I'm driving much faster than 50 mph.

Can I ask why? Smoking while driving takes up a hand, and having passengers in the car takes your attention away from the road (conversations, etc). So wouldn't a smoker with passengers not be equally as dangerous on the road as a person using a mobile phone while driving? If that person had a hands-free kit, then it is no different than having passengers in the car, so when will that be banned?

Wouldn't educating over mandating be a better option?

another bullsh!t ban... I don't text as much and I use bluetooth...
what's next ? ban smoking in your own car? or ban listening to music?
blah blah...

CrimsonBetrayal said,
And what about those new cars with touch screen interfaces... how is that not as dangerous as talking on a mobile?

You know that those touch screens stop working while driving right? And if you need most basic things in your car now are on your steering wheels or voice activated. Shows how much you know.

All this shows that the USA is well behind the times as far as mobile phone usage is cincerned. In Australia texting and holding a mobile is against the law, but......using blue tooth to make calls is not, but then you have to be stopped in order to dial the number otherwise the car system won't take the number.
How can the USA be so far behind......mind you it is not the only thing that they are behind in.......Gun Control !!

Caveman-ugh said,
All this shows that the USA is well behind the times as far as mobile phone usage is cincerned. In Australia texting and holding a mobile is against the law, but......using blue tooth to make calls is not, but then you have to be stopped in order to dial the number otherwise the car system won't take the number.
How can the USA be so far behind......mind you it is not the only thing that they are behind in.......Gun Control !!

That's different in every state in Australia. Even Australia can't agree on what should be allowed... I'm in QLD so its like that here, and they even tried banning fog-lights and sat-navs here. That didn't go so well. In the NT talking on the phone is a $500 fine. Whether handsfree is okay or not is up to the officer at the time...

So there's a great deal of discrepancy, but certainly this could open up a whole new can of worms where the crappy drivers dictate what the intelligent drivers are allowed to do.

I don't know about Queensland as I live in Victoria and have been to New South wales and Adelaide and "hands free / sat navs" are not banned in those states.
Mind you you must admit like the USA some things could only happen in Queensland.

Caveman-ugh said,
I don't know about Queensland as I live in Victoria and have been to New South wales and Adelaide and "hands free / sat navs" are not banned in those states.
Mind you you must admit like the USA some things could only happen in Queensland.

Haha, totally true! Queensland, the smart state? (I question that logic)...

Using a tragic car crash such as the one in KC, to push their agenda is just plain wrong.
How many deaths have been caused by someone switching radio stations, lighting a cigarette, trying to find something that fell in the floor, swatting a fly/bug, arguing with someone in the back seat? Are we going to ban that also? (shhhh...don't give them any ideas!). We (in the USA) currently have laws on the books to deal with distracted driving! It's called C&I, careless & imprudent driving. If you are CARELESS, (not paying attention) that covers something as stupid as trying to text on the phone.
If this ever goes into effect, look for them to end up trying to stop drinking coffee, eating any food, playing music, talking to anyone else in the car.
In the USA, you use to take personal responsibility for your actions. Now, we look to the imperial federal government to solve everything.

Great idea; but with NO exceptions. If there is a true "emergency, the driver will be stopped or will have stopped to report the emergency. Why do bluetooth devices get a free pass?

They need to do this if for no other reason than to universalize the ban. Too many states and municipalities have already done this on their own and it causes inconsistent and confusing regulation. Anyways, there's simply no excuse for texting while driving, ever, and I'm all for a ban. People have had the chance to exercise restraint and be personally responsible, but they haven't. It's not some minority of people that do this, I see them up and down the roads each and every day and it needs to stop.

Talking on the phone obviously impairs people's ability to drive. I see it every day. I get so angry seeing people on the phone and driving. It's nearly as bad as changing lanes and not using a turning signal. They endanger the lives of everyone on the road.

If laws were realistic and effective, half the people with licenses wouldn't have them anymore.

Ban stupid drivers first.

*What defines a stupid driver you ask? Anyone who drives a Nissan or Honda and is foreign

(just trolling)*

Just another example of the government trying to become a nanny state. Really? Half of the people aren't going to follow that law. And not everybody seems to realize that holding your cell phone while it's on speakerphone is not handsfree. Just because you're not holding it to your ear does not mean that it's handsfree. And leaving the phone on your lap while it's on speakerphone? What if it slides off of your lap, you go to grab it and swerve and hit someone or something? Bet you'll wish you had a handsfree device then. I'd rather look stupid and drive safely, thank you. /rant

Anthony S said,
Just another example of the government trying to become a nanny state. Really? Half of the people aren't going to follow that law. And not everybody seems to realize that holding your cell phone while it's on speakerphone is not handsfree. Just because you're not holding it to your ear does not mean that it's handsfree. And leaving the phone on your lap while it's on speakerphone? What if it slides off of your lap, you go to grab it and swerve and hit someone or something? Bet you'll wish you had a handsfree device then. I'd rather look stupid and drive safely, thank you. /rant

A lot of people are stupid though, and they need laws and enforcement to prevent them from dying.

When will they realize its not the texting its the fact that people just dont pay attention. So banning phones is never going to change anything.

Been quite glad that my state is one that hasn't enacted the cell phone ban. I use my phone responsibly. Don't restrict me because there are other morons that don't.

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