In December, the National Transportation Safety Board recommended a ban on all cell phone use in the U.S. while driving. The ban would even include hands-free devices like Bluetooth headsets. To me, this seems a little extreme. The NTSB says that Bluetooth devices are dangerous to driving because talking is a distraction. It is a distraction, but so is listening to the radio, calming an upset child, or chatting with a friend in the car. There are many busy people in our fast-paced society, from brain surgeons to soccer moms, and if they want to spend money on hands-free equipment, they should be able to use it. The next step in this over-regulative line of thought would be a ban on all talking while driving.
Other parts of the proposed ban, like talking on a hand-held cell phone while driving, are not as ridiculous, but still probably not worth the cost of their enforcement. In order to hold a cell phone while driving, you do have to take a hand off the wheel, and this does reduce your control of the car, but there are many other reasons for someone to take a hand off the wheel. People drive with one hand every day when they are enjoying their morning coffee, changing the radio station, fumbling through their change to get money for a toll, or putting on makeup. Are we going to make all of these equally dangerous activities illegal too? Ideally, people would refrain from doing all these things while driving, but the police can only enforce so much.
The more laws the government enacts, the less weight the ones they already have made keep. Texting requires drivers to both to look down at a screen, not the road, and in most cases, to type with both hands, basically rendering them blind and limbless. I don’t have a personal crusade against texting; I think it can be an effective way to get a short message to somebody quickly. However, I think it is something that should remain banned while driving because no one can claim to be a safe driver when he or she is not looking at the road, and more so than just looking at a cell phone to dial a number, texting requires a person to look down from the road for an extended period of time. No update or message is worth the risk of sending a one-to-two-ton piece of metal on a wary course—a wary course that could destroy several human lives. Because the resources of our law enforcement are limited, the focus of legislation should remain on the more dangerous activity of texting while driving rather than on things that are relatively safe—like hands-free calling.
Read the news story: