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Nationwide Cellphone Ban While Driving A Possibility

December 15th, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

There’s talk of a possible nationwide ban on the use of cell phones and other electronic devices while driving. This would also include phones that sport the “hands-free” feature. I won’t bother boring everyone with detailed information about who is recommending what but I at least wanted to share my thoughts on the subject.

This was going to happen sooner or later. The general public has already displayed its inability to use proper judgement when it comes to the safety of themselves and other people. As always, those who use good judgement are also penalized because there would be no way to monitor from a distance whether or not someone is actually using good judgement.

Unless Tom Cruise is listening in on your phone conversations.

Example: A police officer witnesses a woman driving by while she’s on her cell phone. Does she look distracted? Hard to say. Is she driving recklessly? Not at the moment, but that could change. Is she talking to her girlfriend about the latest episode of Jersey Shore or is she talking to a nurse who just informed her that her son is in the ER? Who’s to know? Enforcement becomes almost impossible when there is such a large gray area involved.

By the same token, simplifying the law by eliminating cell phone usage in vehicles altogether would cripple our right to use a communications device in an emergency. I think those in power need to think about the details very carefully before making any sort of decision.

Before you blame the government and those recommending these laws, remember that it’s people like this that caused this mess in the first place.

There are those that are under the impression that “hands-free” means “safe driving.” It doesn’t. Just because your hands are on the steering wheel does not mean you can’t be distracted, be it from the kids in the back seat or the person at the other end of your Bluetooth. Your brain is just as important to the driving process as your hands, the less sensory input it has to process while you’re driving, the better.

I’d be fine with a law that banned the use of electronic communication devices while driving so as long as I had the ability to use said devices in a true emergency. Obviously this leaves room for abuse but those who already have past ties with the law may be deterred from drawing unnecessary attention to themselves. I believe that they should also leave GPS devices alone; in my opinion the risk of having an accident in areas you’re not familiar with is greater than areas that you know like the back of your hand. In unfamiliar areas your brain has to work harder to pay attention to new things, having a GPS handy would be invaluable in aiding a driver in these circumstances.

Warning: Slave Leia Bikini Car Wash Ahead. Keep your eyes on the road!

I was reading up on general opinions and one of my buddies makes a good point: (Paraphrasing) ”Does the government plan to reimburse everyone who paid extra for features in their car that allowed them to utilize their hands-free devices?” I doubt it. The task to cut refund checks and decide who would be eligible would be a massive undertaking in regards to financials and manpower. Look at how long it takes just to process someone through the Welfare system. Reality and excuses don’t make the situation any less unfair however.

There’s also the political side to consider. Some may view a bill like this unfavorably, something certain politicians I shall not name can’t afford right now based on their public opinion ratings. The National Transportation Safety Board (who proposed this whole thing) doesn’t have the power to enact this on their own however their recommendations carry some weight with those who do. It may turn out however that politics will prevent this from making it any further than the recommendation that it is. All we can do is wait and see.

Sure, it may be an inconvenience, but when you’re talking about taking steps to minimize the risk to your family while on the road then it should be a no-brainer. I just hope that if anything does pass that drivers are given the ability to react properly in true emergencies.

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