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Tuesday, December 13, 2011



I am a professinal driver of commercial vehicles,trucks and buses,and I can tell anyone who will listen many horror stories of accidents due to driver distraction by cellphone AND other things.It is not unusual to see drivers reading books propped up on steering wheels while eating a sandwich and steering with their knees while driving down the interstate at 80 mph. Ever see a trucker going down the freeway with one foot propped up on the dash while talking on a cellphone? I just read report in usa today that 19 states have had an increase in accidents and fatalities while the country as a whole has had a DECLINE in wrecks.The Most dangerous thing on the road is an ANGRY driver who cant get there fast enough and doesnt care how many people they hurt to get there.WE have laws in most states against talking on cellphones while driving---we also have laws against speeding and tailgateing but we still do it.

Jason Kilborn

Ah, yes, the apocryphal "studies." The only study I've seen is little more than conjecture--hands-free driving *might* be more distracting than conversation with passengers based on some theory of cognition, etc. (or better yet, yapping on a cell phone on an obstacle course produces bad results--oh, really?!). Absolute hogwash. Targeting hands-free cell phone use on the open road, and leaving aside the myriad of other things that distract drivers, especially including a specific exception for navigation devices, is just sloppy and irresponsible regulation. When texting is the real identified problem, and the NTSB sweeps in all manner of tangentially related communication activity involving electronic devices, it gives a bad name to regulation. It's hard enough for us liberals to overcome knee-jerk resistance by Tea Partiers to "out-of-control" regulation without the NTSB offering up a shining example of out-of-control regulation here. Back to the bottom of the hill, Sisyphus!

Bongo Jim

Mr. Kilborn,

As "silly" as it may sound, studies have shown that hands-free cell phone use while driving is no more safe than in-hand cell phone use while driving, and that both are substantially more dangerous than having a conversation with a passenger in the car (or listening to the radio, for instance).

Jason Kilborn

I just can't resist commenting that, while I generally support regulation of a variety of sorts, this is the most outrageously ridiculous instance of sloppy regulation. Every news item I've seen on this recommendation focuses on TEXTing while driving, which anyone should see is dangerous (eyes off road). But TALKing while driving, with eyes firmly planted on the road? What in the world difference does the NTSB discern between hands-free cell phone conversation and a conversation with the passenger in the car? Will they next propose that all passengers must remain mute during travel? Come on . . .

If anyone can offer a non-silly explanation for the distinction between hands-fee cell use and pleasant banter with a live passenger, you'll do me a great service by lowering my blood pressure every time I hear another of the endless news stories about this classic regulatory over-reaction.

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