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Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood   (Source: TIME)
LaHood is more concerned with banning hand-held calls

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) may be pushing for a ban on hands-free calls while driving, but Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood isn't backing it.

The NTSB called for the ban of all types of in-car electronics in all U.S. states last week, including hands-free calls involving a portable device. While 35 U.S. states have banned texting while driving, and another nine have banned hand-held cell phone use, no one has taken the issue as far as banning hands-free calls yet.

LaHood has made it clear that he's not on the same page as the NTSB when it comes to hands-free calls. Instead, he's more concerned with banning hand-held calls, which he believes is a greater distraction while driving.

"The problem is not hands-free," said LaHood. "That is not the big problem in America.

"Anyone that wants to join the chorus against distracted driving, welcome aboard. If other people want to work on hands-free, so be it."

LaHood has obtained support from automakers like Chrysler and Ford in his pursuit to eliminate driving distractions, i.e. hand-held calls. This has brought forth hands-free auto systems like Ford's SYNC, which allows users to make calls without holding their cell phone.

As expected, automakers are not happy with the NTSB's efforts to ban hands-free calls. Many said hands-free calling systems were made specifically to prevent distracted driving.

LaHood said he wouldn't back a ban on hands-free calls unless research provided a strong conclusion that it contributed to car accidents and other forms of distracted driving. NTSB chairwoman Debbie Hersman argued that hands-free is just as distracting and that several "high-profile crashes" occurred as a result of hands-free use.

"According to NHTSA, more than 3,000 people lost their lives last year in distraction-related accidents," said Hersman. "It is time for all of us to stand up for safety by turning off electronic devices when driving. No call, no text, no update, is worth a human life."

Source: The Detroit News



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In this case, they need to ban passengers.
By Syran on 12/22/2011 9:35:31 AM , Rating: 5
They are by far the biggest distraction for me when I'm driving.

My wife is always like look at this, or look at that while I'm driving. Also, I don't see how communicating with them is really any different then using hands free technology.




RE: In this case, they need to ban passengers.
By Ristogod on 12/22/2011 9:59:31 AM , Rating: 5
Agreed. If you take out hands-free devices, you might as well say that you can't use or listen to the radio. Or that any AC/Heating controls should be disabled too (don't want people fiddling with their integrated electronics while driving now do we?). Or perhaps the driver's have to be in an isolated contained section of the vehicle so as not to interact with passengers, as talking to a passenger is essentially the same as talking to an electronic device. It just goes to show that they can't even apply the simplest amount of logic to anything. Obviously using cell phones while driving is distracting to the driver, but taking steps to alleviate the distraction, like using hands-free devices is a step in the direction of correcting the issue. So focus on the parts that still remain an issue if there's anything left to regulate.

On that note, the federal government has to right to regulate this anyway. It's the states rights to chose and they can nullify anything the federal government tries to shove down their throats.


RE: In this case, they need to ban passengers.
By mcnabney on 12/22/2011 10:17:00 AM , Rating: 5
There are already mountains of data that suggest that drivers under 25 and over 70 are a much greater threat to other drivers. Does that mean that they will support denying licenses to all drivers under 25 and revoking them when people turn 70? There is plenty of evidence supporting that.

Also, the following are all distractions:
Billboards - all roadside signs and billboards will be removed
Children - the #1 in-car distractor
Pets - don't get me started, I have been hit by people with dogs in the front seat TWICE!
Radio - all cars should have radios removed
Eating/drinking - goes without saying. Having something in your hand is a problem
Passengers - talking to other passengers is a huge distraction

Guess what - the real problem is that drivers are HUMAN FLIPPING BEINGS and you can't legislate that away. Driving under the influence does make sense to enforce against because it reduces the absolute ability to function correctly at any time on the road. Everything else is just nanny-state.


RE: In this case, they need to ban passengers.
By MozeeToby on 12/22/11, Rating: -1
RE: In this case, they need to ban passengers.
By Rukkian on 12/22/2011 11:27:52 AM , Rating: 2
I agree that I have seen people doing stupid things while on the phone, however, more often it is about either texting or browsing etc.

I also see alot of people doing stupid things period. I would love to know how they will enforce a hands-free ban, and where all of the extra police officers will come from with all of the budgets being slashed. This is simply not enforceable.

If it is just negotiation strategy - (just say you want to ban all, then in the back lash drop off hands free) then it might work. As it is right now, it will ban mp3 players, gps, and other gadgets that actually help. Have you tried to open an actual map to try and navigate?


By Sazabi19 on 12/23/2011 11:31:45 AM , Rating: 2
Here in Indiana we have a ban on texting while driving, if you get pulled over for it though you can use the excuse that you were looking up a number or even browsing the internet, as that is still allowed legally. It's a loophole that needs to be closed...


RE: In this case, they need to ban passengers.
By mcnabney on 12/22/2011 11:56:33 AM , Rating: 2
Outside of mechancial failures I would actually guess that ALL accidents are distracted driving. What do you think "I took my eyes off of the road for just a second means". It is easy to identify a person who had their phone knocked out of their hand during an accident. It is harder to identify someone adjusting the radio, having an argument with their wife, or who took their eyes off the car in front of them to read a clever billboard when traffic came to a standstill. Physically holding a phone (losing dexterity with one hand on the wheel) and talking (being distracted) is easy to identify. The usual excuse of "I didn't see him" is really the end result of taking your eyes off the road. If people were never distracted there would hardly ever be any accidents.


RE: In this case, they need to ban passengers.
By Steve1981 on 12/22/2011 12:12:57 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Outside of mechancial failures I would actually guess that ALL accidents are distracted driving.


Nah. There are plenty of accidents caused by inclement weather, or rather people not respecting the driving conditions. There's also just plain carelessness.


RE: In this case, they need to ban passengers.
By muhahaaha on 12/22/2011 1:02:30 PM , Rating: 2
we need to ban inclement weather dude!


By ilkhan on 12/22/2011 5:47:11 PM , Rating: 1
Don't give them any ideas. If the Dems could shove that down our throats they would.


RE: In this case, they need to ban passengers.
By Solandri on 12/22/2011 9:04:22 PM , Rating: 2
Obviously the answer is to just ban people from driving.


By rykerabel on 12/23/2011 10:41:14 AM , Rating: 2
A la googles patent on a self driving car. :P


RE: In this case, they need to ban passengers.
By MrBlastman on 12/22/2011 12:49:02 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Telling people they can't talk on their phones has a near zero cost, there are very few people who are so important that they can't wait to get to their destination to make phone calls.


This is the crux of the issue right here. Well said.

Most people don't need to be talking on the phone while they are driving. It's not that big of a sacrifice to give up... if we have to. The world managed to operate efficiently for centuries prior to talking on cell phones while driving.


RE: In this case, they need to ban passengers.
By V-Money on 12/22/2011 12:59:43 PM , Rating: 2
The difference is when people do need to receive calls, its usually due to something important or very time sensitive. When I was in the military I had to be able to be reached at any time, and I have had calls about going underway within a 12 hour period while driving to the city (which is hours away). Also, your argument about the world operating efficiently isn't valid, because with that logic the world managed to operate efficiently before cars were around, and most people don't 'need' to drive all the time.


RE: In this case, they need to ban passengers.
By Suntan on 12/22/2011 2:05:50 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The difference is when people do need to receive calls, its usually due to something important or very time sensitive. When I was in the military...


Yes, yes. History shows us that even back hundreds of years we could not maintain society as we know it without the ability of getting a hold of someone, even while driving.

Surely people know that society would come crashing down if every person had to be physically fixed in one location while taking a call...

One last thing, I'm sure the NTSB would be fine with you pulling your pickup to the side of the road before taking/returning the call. ...Well, if it is a matter of national defense.

-Suntan


By V-Money on 12/23/2011 6:41:04 PM , Rating: 2
I think your missing my point, I mostly feel that I shouldn't be inconvenienced because you don't have a need to talk to people on the phone or because other irresponsible people can't talk and drive at the same time. Also, not that it matters, but I don't drive a pickup, I have a car and a motorcycle, both of which have built in bluetooth connectivity (in the helmet on the bike.) I've talked on the phone while driving in horrible traffic (i.e. NY, Boston, S.F. Etc. during rush hour) yet I have a perfect driving record.

In short, I agree that you can easily argue no one 'needs' to be talking on the cell phone while driving, but I don't see any real reason to ban it, everything is a risk in life. I could use the argument that if you are that worried about people driving while talking on their cellphones, don't drive. If you live somewhere that you have to drive to get anywhere, chances are there isn't much traffic to deal with anyways.


RE: In this case, they need to ban passengers.
By V-Money on 12/22/2011 12:52:32 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
For pets and eating and drinking, in many places these already are illegal. Where they aren't, they probably should be, especially pets with the unpredictability they bring into the situation.


As an honest question, is there really a law against (or some type of regulation) involving pets? I've driven cross country multiple times with my dog and never had an issue, and I always have him in the front seat next to me if there isn't a passenger. I'm not arguing one way or the other, my dog was great, but I know a lot that aren't, I've just never heard about any laws against it.


By Cheesew1z69 on 12/25/2011 5:23:24 PM , Rating: 1
Or eating/drinking for that matter. I have never heard of such a thing. How they could possibly ban food/drinks from a car, is beyond me. I would love to see some proof of this, because quite frankly, I think he is full of shit.


RE: In this case, they need to ban passengers.
By TO on 12/22/2011 11:04:43 AM , Rating: 2
Pretty soon the driver will end up being isolated from anyone else in the car by a wall. No more talking to passengers, listening to the radio, using GPS, drinking coffee or even picking your nose while driving. If these people are so concerned about safety maybe they shouldn't drive period. Lock yourself in the house and never come out. Some ridiculous things are going on in this country lately. Where do these idiots come from and how the hell did they even end up in a power position to even make such ridiculous suggestions. What in the world is going on with our country? Too many idiots out there making recommendations that affect us all.


RE: In this case, they need to ban passengers.
By Reclaimer77 on 12/22/2011 7:22:37 PM , Rating: 1
Pretty soon our vehicles will be nothing but Government controlled mass transit. Our responsibility will end after paying for and maintaining said vehicles, at which point everything we do in them and with them will be mandated and regulated. Including, of course, the vehicle itself.

If sweeping draconian bans every time an issue with technology comes up are these peoples idea of being "progressive", I'll stay Conservative thank you.

(awaits the inevitable "driving is a privilege not a right so if we say you have to drive with a huge black dildo up your ass in the name of safety, you better bend over and smile" angry libtard reply)


By Kurz on 12/23/2011 10:22:57 AM , Rating: 2
Well we all know Libtards love having big 'Black' Rods up their respective asses.


By Wolfpup on 12/22/2011 12:42:51 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly. Presumably they're also banning eating in the car, radios, CD players, passengers...

Yes, our brains don't really multitask. Yes, some people are idiots and don't stop talking when they need more brain power to concentrate on driving. But this is the case for everything else you do in a car too...


Let me be the first to state the obviuos -
By Dr of crap on 12/22/2011 12:46:49 PM , Rating: 2
It's not the cell phones that are the problem.
It's not radios
it's not kids in the car
it's not the eating or the drinking
it's not anything you use in the car
it's what MOST don't use in the car
BRAINS!

All you have to do is get on the road during both rush hours each day to SEE the real problem is NO COMMON SENSE and STUPID drivers.
Stupid to try and text while driving.
Some just shouldn't drive to make the road more bearable for the rest of us.

COMMON sense in the fact that just because there is merging traffic in the far right hand lane, and there are 3 lanes, the far left lane should not have to come to a stop or even slow because of what the right lane is doing.

And before you attacked me for that statement - if you think I'm wrong, then you need to stay out of the left lane and let those of use that can pass a slowed lane and not slow down ourselves get by. It's called common sense to NOT get in the way of other drivers.




By retrospooty on 12/22/2011 12:55:23 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly... You cant fix stupid. By that same rule, you cant legislate stupid either.


By Rukkian on 12/22/2011 1:16:36 PM , Rating: 2
+1 on people not using their brains!

In most of the accidents that are proof that cell phones are the issue (I have never seen anything other than distracted for official statistics), it seems most could have been avoided if people would do what they were taught in drivers edge - keep your distance!

I see way too many people driving like a-holes tailgating the car in front to try and make sure other a-holes don't get a head of them like they are at Daytona. Back off, leave room, be considerate, and everybody (including yourself) will get where they are going much quicker.

The big case they are abusing as part of this involved a 20-something kid texting (not talking) on his cell phone a rear-ending a truck. He problaby would have been fine, but the school bus behind him was riding too closely and couldn't stop, and neither could the school bus behind that one. Where is the outrage at these idiot school bus drivers for failing to maintain control? On top of this, texting was already illegal where he was (missouri) so the law would not have helped.

They conveniently leave out these details since they do not help their agenda.


RE: Let me be the first to state the obviuos -
By KoS on 12/22/2011 1:57:03 PM , Rating: 2
Common sense has been killed in this country. A prime example is our schools.


By Kurz on 12/22/2011 3:02:58 PM , Rating: 2
Who runs our schools?


Outlaw what?
By villageidiotintern on 12/22/2011 12:07:53 PM , Rating: 3
I believe we really need to ban these petty tyrants, instead.




RE: Outlaw what?
By muhahaaha on 12/22/2011 1:03:07 PM , Rating: 2
I second that


By Schrag4 on 12/22/2011 9:55:12 AM , Rating: 2
Jack Bauer would disagree with that statement.

In all seriousness, though, if this is their mentality, then people shouldn't be allowed to drive, period. Even if you get rid of all "distractions" you will still have fatalities, and if they can even save a single human life, it's worth banning driving altogether, right? It's for the children, after all.

Personally, I won't even support a ban on "hand-on" cell phone usage, as long as the driver keeps his eyes on the road. If stupid people aren't allowed to use a cell phone to distract them, they'll find something else to put at the forefront of their mind while they're driving. Those of us that can prioritize may sound like idiots to the person on the other end of the call, but that's because we're putting our brainpower towards keeping us alive. /soapbox




By Arsynic on 12/22/2011 10:07:04 AM , Rating: 2
...since we're too stupid to drive ourselves places without killing ourselves. More and more there seems to be an appetite for the government to provide security in all aspects of our lives.

All it takes is for someone's child to get killed in an accident and the parent becoming an activist to force draconian laws on the rest of us.




What's Next for NTSB?
By Supa on 12/22/2011 10:09:31 AM , Rating: 2
Banning talking among passengers in the car?

Texting and non hand free call are distracting because they required the drivers to take eyes off the road and look at the screen.

How can banning of hand-free be enforced anyway? Cop: "I saw your lips moving, here is the ticket."

---




Good move LaHood
By Stuka on 12/22/2011 10:28:22 AM , Rating: 2
Kudos to LaHood for showing resemblance of a thinking human.

If crap like this is not reigned in, I will vow to only purchase pre-70 vehicles with no smog equipment, no catalytic converter, no airbags, no backup sensor, no radar, no drowsy sensors, no data recorders, no transponders, no bumpers... I will have seatbelts though, cos I am not suicidal. I will not mind being that one guy without a flying car, driving my 4mpg 3-window coupe with home-brewed fish-oil gasoline.




Yes
By ballist1x on 12/23/2011 9:27:41 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Exactly... You cant fix stupid. By that same rule, you cant legislate stupid either.


You cant, but there is a need to try to legislate to penalise those who are stupid in an attempt to protect those who are not...

As ultimately, if stupid people were crashing and hurting no one but themselves it wouldnt be a huge issue. Given, however, that stupid people are freely allowed to drive 1-2 ton vehicles on a road with other drivers and potentially pedestraians who are potential victims, then someone has to be done to try to neuter the effect of the lowest common denominator.




What?
By ballist1x on 12/23/2011 9:34:18 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
The world managed to operate efficiently for centuries prior to talking on cell phones while driving.


It did? Centuries ago, the world barely operated and it was certainly MUCH MUCH less efficient without cell phones. Waiting days or weeks or months for a message is not efficient.

Being able to hold a business conf call when on route to a client/somewhere is much more efficient than not being able to do so.




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