Driving Under A Different Influence

This AP article says that the National Safety Council wants the US federal government to ban the use of all cell phones (handheld, speakerphones and bluetooth) while people are driving. They liken it to drinking while driving and say that cell phone use increases the risk of a crash fourfold.

What do you think? Is this just another case of extreme activism? I think that maybe some people cannot change their car's heater settings while driving and some can.. does that mean that the government should generalize and pass a law prohibiting people from tuning their radios and adjusting their heaters?


  1. People phoning and driving has become one of my pet peeves. VERY often while driving, the car ahead is doing 10 mph under the limit, or engaging in some sort of erratic behavior or another, and I say to my wife, "You watch, I'll bet they're on the phone." Almost without fail I'm correct.

    If people are going to continually abuse the privilege, then it should be taken away. If one MUST make a call in transit, let them pull over - out of the way of people who are trying to drive in a more focused and sane manner.

  2. I don't agree with government. I can see how some people would be against using the phone itself, but hands-free is ridiculous. If talking is such a distraction, I guess they will have to ban passengers, kids, radio, and that internal banter that occupies the mind. One time I was so lost in thought, I found my self driving westbound on I-70 heading to downtown instead of going NB on 435.

  3. Driving on public highways is a privilege, not a right. In order to do it, we need a license from the state authorities (government) - they actually have the responsibility to govern anything to do with public transportation. When citizens abuse the privilege by endangering themselves or others, the government has every right to regulate the questionable activity. I heard the same opposing arguments when they passed the seatbelt laws - but statistics reveal that they did save lives!

    Now, if the government tried to regulate my phone activity in my own home - well, that's an entirely different matter.

  4. The only time I've ever driven while using a cell phone was when I was lost and called my friend for directions to her house in a town I don't know. And let me say, I would think twice before ever doing it again. One of the reasons I choose to stay off of interstate highways as much as possible is because I've seen more far more erratic driving from people on cell phones than I have even from drunks. In fact, on an episode of Mythbusters, tests showed that being on the cell phone while driving was even more problematic than driving while drunk.

    The first town I knew of that banned the use of cell phones while driving is Brooklyn, Ohio, a small community just off of I-70. After four beautiful teenaged girls died in a car crash as the result of the driver being distracted by a cell phone call, they decided they'd had enough. Now other communities are do the same.

  5. Tough one KB. I agree with Ken that being on the phone (whether hands free or not) definitely can affect one's driving. You see it all the time.

    I was on the phone this weekend when it started snowing and i told my friend that i would call him back, needed to concentrate a bit more.

    Unlike changing the car's heating second (which takes just a moment) people can be on the phone for hours while driving and get lost in conversation.

    Just don't see passing another law that is unenforceable, though. Need more education on this.

  6. I used to disagree that talking on your cell phone was a distraction, until I moved to Missouri and had to buy a headset due to the state's new law.

    Now that I've used a headset after years of not using one, I cant imagine ever NOT using it. It keeps both hands on the wheel, it help me react quicker in defensive driving, and in general makes my life a lot easier.

    I'm not sure it should be a law, but now that I've used a headset, I'm glad it's a law. It's been beneficial to me, and those who have the unfortunate experience of driving around me. :)


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