NTSB Recommends Ban on Driver Cell Phone Use

By: AP; Deneige Broom Email
By: AP; Deneige Broom Email

Tallahassee, FL -- December 14, 2011 --
by Deneige Broom

The National Transportation Safety Board wants your car to be completely phone free. That's right no Bluetooths or earpieces either. Eyewitness News reporter Deneige Broom hit the streets to see what you think.

Everyday we get into the car, we decide what we'll let distract us. Whether it's makeup --- food --- or the phone.

It's that last one the National Transportation Safety Board is trying to drop from the list.

Alexandra Wiseman says, "I don't think it's a good idea to not be able to be on the phone."

Sisters Ashley and Alexandra Wiseman look alike --- speak alike and text alike.

Ashley estimates she sends hundreds of text messages everyday.

But if NTSB gets its way --- the texting duo won't even be able to talk with a hands free device while driving.

Ashley Wiseman says, "If you have it installed in your car and just talking like you normally would, that's not an issue, there's no difference in having someone in your car and talking to them."

Alexandra Wiseman adds,"A person knows their boundaries and if they can talk on the phone. I don't think the state should regulate that."
But NTSB and some statistics don't necessarily agree.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says one in six fatal crashes was caused by a distracted driver.

Florida Highway Patrol says from January through October, more than 3,000 of the state's 171,000 crashes were caused by an electronic distraction.

Erik Washington says, "I still can wait though until I get to my destination to answer my text. I can't stop in the middle of traffic."
Washington is heading out of town and promised not to text and drive.

But not everyone has made that pledge and NTSB wants to do it for them.


WASHINGTON (AP) - December 13, 2011 -

Federal accident investigators recommended states ban the use of cell phones and other electronic devices by all drivers except in emergencies.

The National Transportation Safety Board's recommendation followed a finding by the board that the initial collision in a deadly highway pileup in Missouri last year was caused by the inattention of a 19 year-old-pickup driver who sent or received 11 texts in the 11 minutes immediately before the accident.

The pickup driver and a 15-year-old student on one of the school buses were killed. Thirty-eight other people were injured.

The NTSB's recommendation makes an exception for use of phones and other devices in emergency situations.

The board doesn't have the power to impose regulations, but its recommendations carry significant weight with lawmakers.

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  • by Old Soldier Location: South GA on Dec 16, 2011 at 04:43 AM
    They make laws for this and that and yet people still break them. People still drink and drive, people will still text while driving. If they cause a accident they should be fined 5k bucks and suspension of their driving privilages. Make the punishement so tough that drivers will think differently when they text and drive. For what it is worth we don't need anymore stupid laws on the books. This one is covered by reckless/careless driving.
  • by Gerry Location: Tallahassee on Dec 15, 2011 at 09:04 AM
    Sociopaths are quibbling, as is customary for sociopaths. Define, by statute, using a cell phone and/or texting while driving as reckless, impaired driving. Period. No judgment. No questions. Put teeth in the law. Penalize with large fines. Mandate jail time for subsequent offenses. It's not a question of 2 hands on the wheel and 2 eyes on the road. It's a question of 2 hands on the wheel and 2 eyes on the road and attention a million miles from here and now. Commmunication is not being outlawed. Communication with folks elsewhere, while operating a several thousand pound vehicle, i.e., while wielding an instrument capable of inflicting trauma and death, is outlawed.
  • by Bolillo Location: Wakulla on Dec 15, 2011 at 07:46 AM
    Then beacon egg & cheese. Then hair brushes. Then eye liners. Then CD's. Then cigarettes. Then cups of coffee...TPD & FHP laptops!!...You can't do one without all the others. Where's Nixon and Hitler when you need 'em?
  • by Robert Location: Texas on Dec 15, 2011 at 05:58 AM
    It seems to me that the best solution would be to program the cell phone to only function as bluetooth when moving above walking speeds. That should be easily accomplished by phasing in a new generation of phones that are all gps equiped, most are now.
  • by Paul on Dec 15, 2011 at 05:34 AM
    The only way to enforce a new law would be to check the phone after an accident. It's pretty much the same way with drunk drivers (who it turns out are less dangerous than texters). My little brother was killed by a person using their cell phone when they lost control of their car. The person was charged with reckless driving and was sentenced to a year probation. I don't argue with the sentence much (it was an accident and there is no point in ruining that persons' life also). Still, repeated violations should be responded to with harsher sentences. I would treat distracted cell phone use the same way drunk driving is treated. It has been proven to be more dangerous after all.
  • by Gerry Location: Tallahassee on Dec 15, 2011 at 03:48 AM
    The sociopaths are quibbling, as is customary among sociopaths. Define, by statute, cell phone use and/or texting while driving as a primary offense, as reckless, impaired driving. Period. No ambiguity. No judgment. Treat it like DWI or DUI. Put teeth in the law. Mandate a large fine and jail time on subsequent offenses. Make it prohibitively expensive. The question isn't 2 hands on the wheel and 2 eyes on the road, it is 2 hands on the wheel and 2 eyes on the road and attention a million miles away from the here and now. It isn't communication which is being banned, it is communication with someone elsewhere while operating a several thousand pound vehicle, i.e., while wielding an instrument capable of inflicting trauma and death.
  • by Common Sense Arrives Alive Location: Tallahassee on Dec 14, 2011 at 07:28 PM
    I hate it when common sense does not take over. There is a law already. In some states it is called Inattentive driving, here it is Carless Driving. If a driver does anything that draws their attention away driving they can be cited. So just enforce that law. If the driver is weaving while texting, cite them. No need for a new law. It is just like seeing a driver wearing headphones to listen to music while driving and not hearing an emergency vehicle approaching. Cite them for careless driving. Just watch the interview with the young man wearing headphones while driving and being interviewed. There was an example right there. THERE already is a law, no need for another law that wont be enforced. Just enforce the first one. Maybe a inquisitive young reported could see how many Careless Driving citations have been issued in the past few years for cell use and then we all can see how this law is not enforced so why make another law that is not enforced.
  • by Spanky on Dec 14, 2011 at 04:31 PM
    I don't think you should text while driving nor should you be holding a phone up to your ear. I do not think they should include bluetooth though. There is no difference in talking to someone in your car and talking on bluetooth, and you have BOTH hands on the wheel.
  • by Brenda Hicks Location: United States on Dec 14, 2011 at 09:12 AM
    About the cellphones, I live in Madison. I was at a red light in town, On the side street at the light 3 state troupers car went forward at light, ALL 3 drivers were ON A CELLPHONE.
    • reply
      by Common Sense Arrives Alive on Dec 14, 2011 at 07:31 PM in reply to Brenda Hicks
      Excellent Point, should not FHP set the example for the rest of us. Here is a quiz for everyone. Next time you see a LCSO deputy driving in Leon note if they are NOT on their cellular phone. You might count one in the next week.
  • by Gerry Location: Tallahassee on Dec 14, 2011 at 08:59 AM
    You need to be a borderline sociopath to argue in favor of operating a several thousand pound vehicle at 30 or 40 miles per hour while talking on a phone, or texting, or playing video games. Hypothesize 2 kinds of automobile insurance, one for those who willfully distract themselves and another for those who don't. Would the prices be the same, i.e., would the risks be the same? Would you pay extra for "fooling around" coverage? If you have never talked on a phone while driving a car, you can be 100% positive you are paying more for car insurance so others can fool around.
    • reply
      by Tally on Dec 14, 2011 at 05:47 PM in reply to Gerry
      No one is arguing in favor of allowing it to continue but, rather, arguing against laws to attempting to prevent it. You cannot legislate stupidity. It will still happen. Not all people obey laws of any kind.
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