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. icon
    ltlw0lf (profile), 12 Oct 2010 @ 1:01pm

    Re: There is a problem....

    Ban stupid people.

    That is a good idea, then there would be no traffic problems as most of the folks out there wouldn't be driving. Depending on how high you set the bar (do you include even smart people that occasionally do stupid things?) that may include just about everyone. Of course, how do you enforce the ban? Many police officers (at least 50%, if we are talking about putting the bar at 51% on an IQ scale,) may not fall into the smart category and thus aren't able to drive either. Then again, people who drive and text/drive and phone despite there being a ban, will likely continue driving even though they are banned because of being stupid.

    I think the problem is usually that 99% of the drivers out there think they are good drivers, and can deal with distractions. Sadly, most drivers who think they are good drivers, aren't. Most folks that have taken advanced driving courses (for driving emergency vehicles,) know that the problem isn't just speed or distractions, but a combination of all sorts of problems: speed, driving too close (not giving yourself enough distance to avoid an accident,) not giving yourself a way out or having a backup plan, being distracted (day dreaming, shaving, reading, eating/drinking, fiddling with the radio, etc.,) not watching for threats further down the road (how many people only pay attention to the car or two in front of them,) and not being familiar with your location/how to get to your destination. The best drivers account for all of these...but then again, the best drivers don't tailgate, don't go faster than the normal flow of traffic, have a plan, try to remove as much distraction as possible, watch for problems far down the road, and know before they start driving how to get to their destination via multiple paths.

    I don't claim to be a good driver, nor do I think I am stupid, but I try my hardest to live by defensive driving techniques I've been taught, and part of those rules is not to talk on the cell phone and not to text.

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