US road safety body calls for blanket ban on mobile phone use:
Yes, drivers in the US could be affected by a move to ban mobile phones while driving, and we are not taking about blatantly engaging in a call with the device to your ear, we are talking about engaging on twitter, texting, updating to facebook, etc.
National Transportation Safety Board cite smartphone increase as reason:
The National Transportation Safety Board has raised their concerns after pointing out that the increased functionality of smartphones has lead to more people feeling the need to use their device when they should be more concentrated on the road ahead.
Ban on texting, tweeting and even calling on bluetooth?
I am not one for rash decision making when it affects a persons overall freedom and criminalizes more for stupid errors.
But, I can see how texting and tweeting and generally meddling with a phone while driving could be dangerous.
I do however strongly object to anyone criminalizing a driver for talking using bluetooth, otherwise it would surely have to be law that you would also have to drive without talking to your passenger, or changing your air temperature or dials for volume etc and how dangerous would that be!
In fact I would argue that excessive noise while driving was more dangerous than talking on bluetooth due to the lack of awareness that is created when deafened by loud music.
Growing concern over gadgets in general:
NTSB chairwoman Deborah Hersman has stated that they are worried about devices in general:
“Every year, new devices are being released, people are tempted to update their Facebook page, they are tempted to tweet, as if sitting at a desk. But they are driving a car.”
Not likely to be adopted:
There are no statutory obligations for states to adopt the recommendations, and initial polls appear to show that no state will.
But a seed has been planted, and I dare say that some measures suggested will be implemented in time.
Perhaps the economic misery of the US may have more of a say right now rather than seemingly “draconian” measures to reduce road accidents.
Current law situation on driving in the US:
Unlike the UK which banned talking on a mobile while driving years ago (Bluetooth/Hands-Free is OK), the US only sees 9 states with the same ban on talking while driving, and 35 states have made texting and driving illegal.
As a last statement against the naysayers to these proposed laws, the National Transportation Safety Board say:
“We’re not here to win a popularity contest. We’re here to do the right thing. This is a difficult recommendation, but it’s the right recommendation and it’s time.”
While many believe that the move will not be a vote winner in general, the fact that a ban on in car communication via mobiles could hurt industry in the US in terms of manufacturing products for cars and general consumer devices, seems to be one of the other main reasons that these measures will not be adopted any time soon.
International pressure mounts:
In 2010, Ban Ki-moon, the secretary general of the United Nations, had looked to address the culture of multitasking while driving. And, some 30 countries have laws restricting the use of mobiles while driving, including complete bans in Germany and Portugal, so is the US being slow in looking after its Citizens or is the rest of the world being overly cautious with full bans?Anthony Munns