Banning Cell Phone Use While Driving Is Long Overdue

December 18, 2010

(ChattahBox Op/Ed News) – There aren’t that many things that bother me to the point of irritation as I may have led you to believe, but this is one of those issues that has bothered me for a long time and the Federal Government is considering a ban , that I will suggest now should be extended to anyone and everyone.  The ban I write of is the use of cell phones when someone is driving.  The proposed ban is for truck and bus drivers, and I am all in on this one.

According to the Transportation Department more then 5000 people were killed last year and another 500,000 people were hurt in crashes  of ALL vehicles  involving distracted drivers, and common sense tell us that the bigger the vehicle they larger a weapon that vehicle becomes.  This is an idea whose time is overdue.

I realize that like most issues that take away choice people get up in arms but let’s break this issue down and put it in context.  There isn’t anyone who is reading this right now that hasn’t been infuriated by someone who is driving that hasn’t been affected by another driver on their cell phone either driving too slowly, too sloppily, or too cluelessly.  We have all had this experience and it doesn’t just cause stupid driving it also causes road rage, too.

Many states have instituted a ban on cell phone use while driving, as it should be.  Cell phones have almost become a permanent extension of the hand for too many people and it’s not just an age group issue either and it’s not just a driving issue as well.

I’ll admit this up front. I have a bias against cell phones because I believe with all my heart that they have ruined productivity in the workplace.  They have also reduced quality family time and the dreaded cell phone has also negatively impacted the way we communicate.  Those issues I recognize are a matter of debate, but as a business owner I have learned to hate the damned things.  When I owned my last restaurant I actually had to ban them from the restaurant for my employees during their shifts because they were spending more time texting and watching video than they were working.  One day I actually went to my office and went to Facebook and watched in real time as one employee after another was posting to their pages while at work.  One employee lost a days pay and almost their job for posting how bored they were and how they just didn’t feel like working that day.  I was able to help out on that score.

Cell phones are a problem, but driving while using a cell phone has become dangerous and deadly and there is no defense to it.  I guess the “hands free” option does make it less dangerous and as long as the “hands free” option doesn’t require anything more then you using your voice I could agree to that, but anything that would require you to use your hands for any reason to engage the use of the phone while you are driving should be banned period.

This is one issue that I am squarely behind the Federal Government and it is my hope that we will see this legislation pass early on in the 112th Congress.

In fairness to commercial trucking companies many of them already ban the use of cell phones.  UPS and Fed Ex to name just two examples of corporate responsibility on this issue and although many have followed suit, a law would be the corrective action that would solve this problem once and for all.

Maybe some of you will remember when you took drivers education how you were warned about the danger of changing the radio station while driving or using the lighter while driving and that was sound advice than and still is, so the idea of using the cell phone while driving would logically be an insane idea, right?

OK so I do and have used my cell phone while driving, but rarely and if I feel that traffic to too harry or the weather conditions require my more immediate attention I ignore my cell phone but I also see people using their cell phones no matter what the driving conditions are, not to mention doing their hair, putting on makeup, shaving, reading the paper, etc.  I live in Metropolitan Detroit and one local community has even gone to passing an ordinance about distracted driving that include making it illegal to eat while driving.  We can debate the pros and cons of that some other time, but the point is made:  we need less distraction while driving what is in essence a weapon if used improperly.

Technology is awesome and as cell phones have become tiny laptops they are revolutionizing how we move information and I am all for advancement and all, but not while we are driving Jack and Jill to school  or any place else.

This is an idea that is ripe for acceptance.  And even though I’m sure you all are perfect drivers and use you cell phones properly while driving let me appeal to the reality that even though you are perfect, the other guys or gals aren’t.

This is a problem with an easy and immediate solution.  On that score let’s just do the right thing and ban cell phone usage while driving for all vehicles now.

Tony Trupiano is a former national syndicated progressive radio talk show host, author, and a former candidate for Congress. He is also a nationally recognized media trainer.  He can be reached at tony@mediatony.com and can read his Blog at http://www.mediatraining.me


Comments

2 Responses to “Banning Cell Phone Use While Driving Is Long Overdue”

  1. Morely Dotes on December 18th, 2010 1:18 pm

    Hands-free cell kits cost as little as $10 these days. Some cars come with them built-in (mine’s part of the radio). There’s absolutely no excuse for having a cell phone pressed up to your head while driving now; if you can afford a cell phone and a monthly cell minutes bill (even if it’s pay-as-you-go) and a car and gas, you can afford a hands-free kit.

  2. Elle on December 18th, 2010 1:56 pm

    Sorry but no. My car doesn’t support this kind of hands free thing. I do not have a functioning “cigarette lighter” or other plug that my 1995 Honda could use to have a high-tech hands free cell phone feature. Cost isn’t the issue.

    I think it’s asinine to assume that hands-free kits help anyway. It’s common knowledge that someone on bluetooth or other hands-free technology is often JUST AS distracted as someone using their hand to hold the phone up to their head. If you really want to end the distractions, you have to ban cell phone use completely. That includes hands-free devices.

    Personally, I do not want a ban because I don’t see that it will help. I personally use my phone while driving very infrequently, but when I do it’s usually because I’m lost, need directions, and don’t see a good place to stop. I have never been in an accident or caused an accident because of my phone, but I’m a pretty good driver. Younger drivers or inexperienced ones might need a ban, in theory. But who is to say that reaching for and applying makeup, arguing with a passenger, or flipping through radio stations/iPod songs isn’t also just as distracting. I don’t think it’s reasonable to legislate this issue because it doesn’t seem like it will have a real effect. There’s no way to effectively enforce this IMO. Maybe I’ll be proven wrong – time will tell.

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