Opinion: NTSB Cell Phone Ban Proposal Doesn’t Go Far Enough
The National Transportation Safety Board came out several weeks ago calling for an outright ban on all cell phone activity.
Not just on texting and handheld cell phone calls but on all cell phone calls–even including cell phone calls using a hands free device.
But why? We think, cell phones should be treated just how we treat other equally deadly items like guns. In most states, in order to transport a handgun, it must be unloaded and locked in the trunk while driving.
Same goes for the cellphone. We push for similar laws that a cell phone’s battery must be removed and then the battery and the phone must be locked in the trunk before a motorist could legally operate the vehicle. A driver caught with a concealed cell phone in the car should face the same prison time as someone with a loaded handgun under the driver’s seat since they’re both equally dangerous.
But it our opinion the NTSB proposal does not go far enough.
In our view, even beyond cell phones, drivers have too many distractions which can interfere with safe driving.
And as the NTSB, distractions lead to crashes, injury and too many times, death.
Recent data from the NTSB shows an estimated 3,092 fatalities were a result of “distraction-affected crashes” in 2010.
So, a complete ban on all cellphone use does not go far enough.
For all drivers to be 100% safe, all distractions must be removed from the vehicle.
The radio is a prime example. Motorists fiddling with their radio, changing stations, sliding in CDs or tapes, adjusting the volume are all instances when the drivers attention is not fully on the road. A teen driver in Wisconsin killed a man walking along a road in Wisconsin when she swerved off the roadway while changing CDs.
Let’s get Congress to pass a ban removing all car radio and audio systems from cars.
Food and drink can also be a distraction. Fumbling for that greasy Egg McMuffin sliding out of your hands while driving to work is just going to lead a multi-car pileup on the interstate. And drinking coffee? Don’t get us started.
Ban all eating and drinking while driving.
Perhaps the most dangerous distraction is passengers–especially children. While the chattering friend, spouse or co-worker is certainly going to lead to some sort of crash in your future, nothing spells flaming, crushed metal, flipped over vehicular death than a wailing and whining brat in the back seat of your car. Many parent drivers will recall how reaching for that dropped pacifier for a shrieking infant or trying to slap a belligerent child into submission with one hand, while trying to steer through rush hour traffic with the other has almost lead to a horrible 50 car pileup.
We believe banning all passengers from passenger vehicles is the only sensible solution to achieving the goal of zero car crashes.
But, since we’re on a roll, let’s just go all in on this subject and endorse the use of helmets.
The NTSB should recommend that all car drivers should be forced to wear motorcycle grade helmets while moving. If every automobile driver wore a helmet, there would be less deaths due to car crashes. We’ve been considering the idea of mandating all drivers to only drive military grade vehicles like Humvees or tanks to protect drivers from the possibility of being hurt in a fender bender, but admittedly that might be a bit too excessive in our goal of improved driver safety.
Lawmakers should also contemplate dropping the speed limits on all roads and streets to just 10 miles an hour, and dropping highway speed limits from the unconscionable 65 mph to a much safer 25 mph.
Even though fatal car crashes are the lowest they’ve been in 60 years according to the NHTSA numbers, these changes to the law we’ve outlined above are absolutely necessary if it means saving, just, one, more, precious, life.
So, while the NTSB means well, their milquetoast approach to these issues is not nearly strong enough.
Of course, as everyone feels deep down in their heart, the government knows what’s best for yo