Transportation Secretary Wants To Ban All Driver Talking (Except To Other Passengers)

from the yeah,-that'll-work dept

Just after new evidence has come out showing that various driving-while-texting bans have had the opposite effect, by causing people to just keep on texting, but do so by holding their phone lower so cops can't see it (but also so they are paying even less attention to the road), Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood now wants to make our roads even more dangerous by trying to ban pretty much all driver talking in a car, with the exception (so far) of talking to other passengers. He wants to ban all mobile phone talking by drivers, even if it's handsfree, and he wants to extend that to vehicle information systems like OnStar or GPS systems.

Again, we've discussed repeatedly that we agree such things can be quite dangerous, though you can argue if talking to OnStar or to someone on the phone is really that much more dangerous than talking to a passenger. However, it's becoming increasingly clear that these sorts of laws don't actually help. They don't stop people from doing these actions, and seem to only get more people doing them in even more dangerous ways. Continuing down this path, that already doesn't work, is a huge mistake, and you would think that someone in a position like LaHood would actually pay attention to the evidence that this isn't working, and wouldn't suggest making the problem worse.

Of course, if this ban does go into effect, and the reports of accidents continue to rise, how long will it be until LaHood also bans talking to passengers in your car?

Filed Under: driving distractions, hands-free, mobile phones, ray lahood

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Oct 2010 @ 10:34am

    Re: Re: Re: Still holds:

    Challenging your original statement, what makes you believe that talking on the phone distracts all drivers equally? Some people are quite able to focus on the road and handle their vehicles better than many who can't. Others shouldn't be tasked with chewing gum and operating an electric can-opener.

    This is not a matter of "laws", this is a matter of consequence. We get it that a law on banning things you deem inappropriate is well-intentioned, but that does not make it "right". If the law does not fix the consequences (and initial reports on texting bans suggest they even make things worse as offenders will take their eyes ENTIRELY off the road to text from their laps, etc), it is a BAD LAW and should be repealed and replaced ONLY when you can demonstrate that a better solution to the problem exists.

    I don't advocate texting while driving, or ignore the benefits of some sort of a rule against them, but if the PEOPLE are the concern, I suggest it is the people who are to demonstrate their ability or inability to multi-task and consequences should be determined based on the findings at the time for the individual. And again, it's a matter of enforcement, not new laws. Plenty of laws already exist for distracted driving, and I propose this narrow subcategory of specific distractions is more harmful than beneficial.

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