General Question

steelmarket's avatar

Whacky or Wise: Nationwide ban on using cell phones while driving?

Asked by steelmarket (3598points) January 13th, 2009

(CNN)—The National Safety Council called Monday for a nationwide ban on cell phone use while driving, a prohibition opposed by the industry.
What do you think about a ban?

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50 Answers

EmpressPixie's avatar

Wise. Annoying, but wise.

loser's avatar

I think it’s a good idea! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve almost been creamed by someone on a cell phone doing something stupid.

gailcalled's avatar

Likewise. I see a car careering from one lane to another or crossing the divider, and sure enough, one of the driver’s hands is up by his ear.

SoapChef's avatar

I vote, yes. Even though I am guilty of using mine while driving.

cage's avatar

It’s been in use here in the UK for a while now.
I’m not sure on the stats, but I’m pretty sure it’s reduced a few accidents.
If you’re a business man or something who makes a lot of calls, its a good idea to just get a handsfree set. They’re not as stupid as you think.

We look down on plenty of stuff whilst driving in the UK, eating, drinking, listening to your radio too loud, talking too much, sexual activities, smoking etc
In fact a good example is my ex girlfriend who was in a 70mph crash on the motor way in the fast lane because she had the radio on too loud and wasn’t able to concentrate.
These things happen

Grisson's avatar

Definely wise, but does the ban apply only to phone calls or also to texti…
[SCREEECH!!!! * * * CRASH * * * ]

charliecompany34's avatar

there’s an electronic billboard near a busy interstate here that reads “hang up and drive!”

Allie's avatar

I think it’s wise. California (my home state) has already implemented this law.
@Grisson Originally, our law didn’t apply to texting. People found the loophole, word spread, and then more people texted while driving (Yeah, I do it too. Bad.. I know.)
They revised the law to include no texting while driving along with the original no talking on the phone while driving. It went into effect January 1st.
There are were electronic billboards along the causeway that displayed messages like “Starting Jan 1: No texting while driving” and similar messages.

SacBee
Reuters
SFGate

steelmarket's avatar

This news caught my attention, since awhile back I was talking via cell to a friend who was stopped in traffic. While we were talking, my friend’s car was rear-ended by another guy who was also on his cell. I heard the loud smack on my end, then his phone hung up. Fortunately, no one was seriously injured.

blastfamy's avatar

Talking on the cell phone should be like drunk driving. If you are causing a problem, you will get pulled over. If you cream someone, you are at fault.

I know people who have little conversations as necessary and cause no problems. Let’s not screw those people over…

might not warrant the drunk tank though!

charliecompany34's avatar

people just don’t realize their driving is affected. they swerve right or left. they slow down. tight is hnindered in some cases.

it’s strange how you can talk to somebody who is IN the car rather than on the phone.

Bri_L's avatar

Wise. Very.

Foolaholic's avatar

Personally, I want to hear just how they would go about wording that law. I’m sure it would be very helpful, just as long as we don’t become too restricted.

tinyfaery's avatar

I think it’s bullshit. If cell phones are banned then eating in the car, tv screens, radios, GPS, etc should also be banned.

I have been talking and driving for going on 10 years (even now that it is illegal) and I have never been in an accident, period.

There is really no way to determine is cell phone use is directly related to accidents, unless you take away every other possible factor that could contribute. How would that be possible?

Bad drivers are bad drivers, cell phone or not.

howbecome's avatar

Banning drivers on cell phones is and outstanding and long overdue restriction.

I drive to work every day and am stunned by daily examples of unsafe, chaotic and just plain goofy driving by folks talking on their cells phones. They drive into traffic. They don’t move at green lights. They park and talk in intersections. They drive down the street at a crawl. They float between lanes worse than a drunk. It’s as if once these drivers get on the phone they forget where they are.

Put down the cell phones and end the distracted driving madness. It stopped being amusing a few years ago.

steelmarket's avatar

I would think that a ban on anything not hands-free would excite the phone companies. Look at all the extra accessories they would sell.

LKidKyle1985's avatar

I’m going to play devils advocate and say Nay it is not wise. We really need to thin the heard out a little people. All these people talking on their cells, texting, or surfing the net on their Iphones while driving are really lowering the quaility of our species. After a couple centuries of distracted drivers texting and bursting into firery auto accidents, we will have a population breed to drive attentive and safely. It’s the only way.

Grisson's avatar

@LKidKyle1985 I think I agree. SC has long taken the Darwinian approach to the motorcycle helmet law (Not required in SC). I guess the thinking is that unhelmeted motorcyclists are less likely to reproduce.

TitsMcGhee's avatar

I talk on my phone and drive a good deal, and I have never been in an accident. People can be distracted by so many things when driving, everything from music, GPS, children or other passengers, advertisements on the side of the road, etc, etc, etc. There is no way that the government can ban everything that could be potentially distracting or dangerous in the car. And, the roads are the state’s responsibility, so the national government shouldn’t be interfering.

desiree333's avatar

its an annoying rule, but it is definetly wise. People shouldn’t really be on a cell phone in a car in the first place. But whatever, Im pro AND con about it. There are good and bad things about it.

SoapChef's avatar

@Grisson You know, when I read this question, the first thing that came to mind was motorcycle helmet laws. We have one in Oregon and am always astounded when we ride in other states how many riders there are, sans helmet. The only difference is this. In all liklihood, the only person a helmet-less person is hurting is themself, not taking out other innocent people because of their careless stupidity.

TitsMcGhee's avatar

If the government makes talking on a cell phone illegal because it’s potentially harmful to others, why not make smoking illegal? Why not make driving itself illegal, since some people can’t do that well regardless of whether they are on a cell phone or not? It is part of the government’s job to protect the public, but not to regulate certain people’s stupidity. A national law to not allow cell phones while driving is not only overstepping the bounds of the national government, it is overstepping the boundaries of the purpose of laws in the first place.

SoapChef's avatar

It grieves me to say, “I’m not with Tits” on this one. :0)

tinyfaery's avatar

I am with tits on this one.

TitsMcGhee's avatar

@tinyfaery: Thanks :) I’m definitely a democrat, but there are some things I think are way outside of government boundaries.

Allie's avatar

@TitsMcGhee What is anyone going to do about drivers who suck at driving anyway? They’re bad no matter what happens. The next step is to try to take away a device that is making potentially good drivers cause accidents.

LKidKyle1985's avatar

@TitsMcGhee
I believe this is the same arguement for people who don’t like being told to wear seatbelts and I have to say I agree it really is the goverment over stepping its authority some.

TitsMcGhee's avatar

@Kyle: Exactly. Who is the government to tell me that I should take measures to be safe if I don’t want to? I can smoke if I want to, and that’s potentially destructive, so why should I not talk on a cell phone or wear a seatbelt? Personally, I wear a seatbelt because I know it’s safe, but I also talk on my cell phone and drive because I know I can do both and still be safe. **Note to all: I drive a stick shift too.

@Allie: The whole driver’s license process is supposed to ensure that people know what they’re doing behind the wheel. Bad drivers will be bad drivers with or without cell phones, and I don’t feel I should be penalized because other people have problems driving with a cell phone. It also isn’t my place, or the government’s, for that matter, to tell them what they can and can’t do.

Allie's avatar

@TitsMcGhee I disagree. I think bad drivers are only made worse when they fiddle with their cell phones. Making them put the phone down might actually (hopefully) force them to focus on the road and other drivers. I think if passing a law against talking/texting on the cell phone is what it takes to get people to put the thing down, then that’s what it takes and that’s fine by me.

TitsMcGhee's avatar

@Allie: Will it really get people to put it down, or will people just do it anyway? There are laws against drunk driving, but people still do it. There are laws against not wearing a seatbelt, but people still don’t buckle up. I think the only result of a law like that would be more hassle from more cops who are trying to give more tickets to make more revenue for their city or county.

Allie's avatar

@TitsMcGhee I think that it being an actual law will definitely make some people quit the behavior. Yes, I know not all of the people who texted/talked on the phone will quit, but I do believe that some will. I think tickets and fines can scare some people to change their actions. Drunk drivers, people who don’t buckle up.. there are always exceptions to the rule. I’m not trying to poke and prod here.. but do you think it will help at all? Or are you just 100% totally against it and think it isn’t going to accomplish anything?

TitsMcGhee's avatar

@Allie: I don’t think it will help one bit (all those soccer moms that drove the little shits I went to high school with around all the time are surgically attached to their phones), and I think it would just be a huge inconvenience to me and everyone else who can drive just fine while on the phone (if I’m lost in East St. Louis, one of the more dangerous cities in the country, which has happened to me before, I definitely want to be able to call someone for directions without stopping my car, thank you VERY much). If you know that you can’t drive well while talking on the phone, it is your responsibility not to do that. If you can’t drive well with music on, with people in the car, while eating, while drinking, while putting on makeup, at night, when tired, in a certain pair of shoes, while doing WHATEVER, it is YOUR responsibility to know that and to refrain from letting any of those things effect your driving. The government can’t regulate every single thing, nor should they be able to. The restrictions and regulations should end at licenses, road signage, and stop lights. Just because something could be potentially dangerous doesn’t make it fair game for the government to control. Next thing you know, we’ll be living minority report and being arrested for the potential to commit a crime.

Allie's avatar

@TitsMcGhee Usig your example of drunk driving, if the fear of getting a DUI keeps one drunk driver off the road and saves one persons life then I consider that a success. I think the same thing about the cell phone law. If the fear or a ticket, or a fine, or points with your insurance company keep some hazardous cell phone using driver off the phone and prevents accidents then I’m for that. Regarding the minority report thing.. this isn’t that and before we get to that point people will cause a huge fuss. (They won’t be as nonchalant as they were with the cell phone law. There were no protests in my area anyway and I didn’t hear of any at the Capitol.) But I’m sue you know that. P.S. – People have wanted to make laws against some of the other things you listed (such as eating in the car).

TitsMcGhee's avatar

@Allie: First off, thanks for the comment, and I’d like to extend the same compliments to you for your calm nature and maturity with which you’ve approached the conversation. That’s really what fluther is all about! To continue, however… It may stop some people, yes, but I think just as many people would be inconvenienced and disregard the law, especially new drivers (ages 16–18). I don’t think there will be immediate unrest about the law until it is fully proposed and being debated in Congress. That is another one of my objections, however; the federal government has no authority to legislate this on a national level. It should be up to the individual states. I assume that the justification would be something around interstate commerce (drivers crossing state lines, I assume, maybe something with commercial driving), but I think that’s a stretch. I am also of the opinion that banning cell phones, but not hands-free devices, is a double standard. Isn’t the distracting part of talking on a phone the conversation, not the use of a hand? I wouldn’t be in favor of a law requiring the use of a hands free device either, to clarify.

tinyfaery's avatar

If a bad driver puts down or doesn’t fiddle with a cellphone then the chances of an accident decrease. My problem is you can exchange the word cellphone for a myriad of things and the sentence will still be true. Why just legislate against the cellphone? Would you support a law that dictates that a driver cannot have any music playing device in the car, including a car radio? I see just as many people doing stupid shit in their cars because they are fiddling with their radios.

Grisson's avatar

@tinyfaery Let’s see… “If a bad driver puts down or doesn’t fiddle with a passenger then the chances of an accident decrease.”

Hey! You’re right!

tinyfaery's avatar

@grissom Passenger is much more fun than what I was thinking of.

emilyrose's avatar

@Allie and @TitsMcGhee—- I live in CA where it is now against the law to talk on a phone without a headset. I have noticed a great increase of people using headsets, so YES, the law does work and its worth it!

Bri_L's avatar

@ TitsMcGhee and Tinyfaery – why not a law that requires a hands free device of some type on a state level ?

I would like to point out that while I completely disagree with some of the logic you use to make your points, those being:

Tinyfaery “I have been talking and driving for going on 10 years (even now that it is illegal) and I have never been in an accident, period.”

Tits – I guess your basic boasting about your driving skills while on the phone in a stick shift

~ I would be willing to bet that, given that amount of time, you were assisted by the good driving habits and awareness of others.

You have swayed me a bit.

Allie's avatar

@TitsMcGhee I just feel that if making it against the law to talk/text while driving ends that kind of behavior in even some drivers, then the roads will be safer and fewer accidents will occur for all drivers. I’m not too picky on the number of people who quit the behavior as long as the outcome is still good.
@emilyrose Yes, I live in California too and I’ve seen people using head sets or speaker systems as well.

LKidKyle1985's avatar

@TitsMcGhee Actually the federal goverment could regulate it, just like they made most of the states change their DUI BAC to .08 from .1 back in like 2004 or something. But what they did was say, if you don’t change your laws, we are going to withold all this money from you that you need for road construction an maintenance, so most states complied, I would imagine it would be similiar with the cell phones, but not as likely since not every state likes the idea of this law, I think ohio is not a fan of this either. I could be wrong
So its still a state level thing, but influenced by the federal level

TitsMcGhee's avatar

@LKidKyle1985: I didn’t say that the federal gov’t couldn’t, I just said that I don’t think they should be given that authority, or feel that they have the justification to do tit for tat kind of dealing with highway funding. I was also just focusing on the “nationwide” aspect of the question, but if I hadn’t known that before, it would’ve been helpful (thank you AP US Gov, haha.)

@Allie: I work at a pizzeria, and three of our drivers have been hit by other people while on the job. None of them were at fault and there weren’t any cell phones involved. People just can’t drive sometimes; making more restrictive, unnecessary laws is just uncalled for.

@Bri_L: I actually did a ten-hour marathon drive, from St. Louis to Atlanta today, talked on the phone and texted for quite awhile, and didn’t even have any semblance of trouble! Maybe I’m just good at multi-tasking, but I figure if I can do, so can others… and I don’t want the government interfering and telling me what to do! The thing about hands free devices is that it seems silly to allow that and not the cell phone itself – the conversation is the distracting part, not the hand off the wheel. If you weren’t distracted by your conversation, you could easily drop your phone to have the use of your hand. I know that I don’t always drive with two hands on the wheel, regardless of whether I’m on the phone or not.

@emilyrose: This isn’t meant to sound sarcastic at all, just prefacing with a disclaimer because we all know how things can come off in type… Just wondering if you have any statistics on accident rates since the law was put into place in CA; I think they’d be interesting to look at. Also, regarding headsets and hands free devices… see the comment just above to Bri_L. Is that really much different from having the phone in your hand or having your phone on speaker? Is the driver not still distracted from the road, just as if there were another person in the car?

Bri_L's avatar

@TitsMcGhee – In terms of the hands free, I am just trying to think concession. I have repeatedly seen people limit their range of vision when checking to merge and change lanes etc. The hands free device would eliminate that.

Conversationally I kinda think people can find their way into their own little world, drive on to little sleep, etc. that isn’t really in my line of thought.

TitsMcGhee's avatar

@Bri_L : Personally, I feel like a tool with a bluetooth or other hands free device, but that’s just me. I have certainly dropped my phone before because of the need for immediate use of both of my hands and it’s worked just fine. I just would hate having something in my ear like that. I would feel like a TimeLife operator.

Bri_L's avatar

@TitsMcGhee – That would get annoying. “No ma’m I can’t offer you a deal on the golden hits of the 70’s if you buy DISCO DISCO DISCO at the same time, now get the h#)) off my line!”

TitsMcGhee's avatar

Haha, anytime I see someone with a bluetooth in their ear, I automatically think they’re a total tool.

Bri_L's avatar

I hate it when they wear them outside the car, like in McDonalds and the grocery stores and they are talking on them next to me, but they are on the other side of their heads from me.

Pisses me off.

TitsMcGhee's avatar

You also can’t tell who is insane anymore; it looks like everyone is talking to themselves!

Grisson's avatar

@TitsMcGhee Sometimes when I pass one of those I say, “Awww, isn’t that cute?! He has an invisible friend.”

So far I have not been beaten up for doing that.

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