NTSB recommends banning cellphone use while driving

Posted By on December 14, 2011

womanoncellA real hot button topic is being discussed after the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recommended banning portable electronic devices such as cellphones from being used by drivers of automobiles. Distracted driving is fast becoming the seatbelt or drunk driving issue of the day. As someone who spends a significant amount of time on the road and has owned and used a mobile phone since before they were call “cellular,” I can say that the convenience of using a phone while driving would be missed. Admittedly I recognized that anything that distracts a motorist from the task of driving the car increases the risk of an accident, but I’m still against an out and out ban.

…the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) called for the first-ever nationwide ban on driver use of personal electronic devices (PEDs) while operating a motor vehicle.

The safety recommendation specifically calls for the 50 states and the District of Columbia to ban the nonemergency use of portable electronic devices (other than those designed to support the driving task) for all drivers. The safety recommendation also urges use of the NHTSA model of high-visibility enforcement to support these bans and implementation of targeted communication campaigns to inform motorists of the new law and heightened enforcement.

One of the more difficult problems in enforcing the “no distracted driving” push is how to enforce drivers from using cellphones. Restricting the use of cellphones through technological means seems a bit draconian since the “non-driver” shouldn’t be restricted in my opinion – of course our big government movement could be adopting the aviation industry’s no portable electronic devices position. Having a traffic stop based on a cellphone electronic signature is equally storm trooper-ish … although after an accident I can see that punitive damages may be an option? Just as fines go up in construction zones, perhaps fines and penalties raised for those using electronic communication devices may be the answer, although if we “must” go this route how about encouraging the private industry route. What I mean is let the consumers choose an auto insurance company that discounts based on those drivers who don’t use a phone while they drive … sort of the Gecko characters position on radar detectors.

I assume this ban would impact the entire mobile radio business for trucks, constructions, and for the use of law enforcement “non-emergency” radio while driving?  From the sounds of it, it will also have to include amateur and CB radio as well? As the trend toward embedded iPad-like dashboards continue, perhaps these devices will be the next target.


Besides embedding a CBNC video below, I thought it interesting to look, even with the increased use of cellphones and connected devices, how much safer we are on the roads today than in the past. (Census Info) Food for thought before we legislate more of our personal freedoms away.


  • Although I don’t want to lose the use of my cellphone in my car, I understand the debate. Here’s a list of a few more things to NOT do with your smartphone from and eweek article.

    1. Drive while talking
    Let’s just get this out of the way: Driving and talking on a cell phone is dangerous. As numerous studies have shown, talking while driving can be as dangerous as driving drunk. Quite often, people whotalk on the phone while driving will find that they sometimes forget where they are and what they’re doing. It’s a serious issue, and it shouldn’t be taken lightly.

    2. Losing a smartphone without password protection Too often, smartphone owners leave their devices in a public place without password-protecting them. So anyone can walk over to the handset, access its software, and start looking through emails, browsing history and more. All smartphones must be password-protected.

    3. Access banking information
    Although most banks now allow users to access their accounts from a smartphone via downloadable applications, it’s not always the best idea. Earlier this year, a survey showed that, in many cases, banking applications lack security features needed to make using them safe. It’s best to access banking sites at home.

    4. Download applications from unknown sources
    Android handset owners have gotten into trouble for downloading programs created by unreliable sources. Upon doing so, the applications installed malware on their devices, and all kinds of trouble ensued. Never download applications from unknown sources. Those who do typically find it’s more trouble than it’s worth.

    5. Share personal information over unsecured networks
    Since smartphones aren’t running Windows, many people believe that the operating systems on their devices are secure. But that’s not the case. What’s worse, because they can connect to any WiFi network, there’s no telling if data transmitted over that connection is secure. Therefore, it’s best to never share personal information over unsecured networks; it’s too easy for that data to be stolen and used against users.

    6. Text while driving
    If mobile phone owners aren’t calling while driving, they certainly shouldn’t be allowed to text message others while driving. In the age of touch screens, texting while driving requires a person’s attention to be on the phone, so they can see which characters they’re pressing. And when doing so, they aren’t focusing on the road. That’s practically suicidal.

    7. Forgo standard security practices readily followed on desktops
    If someone were on a Windows PC, they wouldn’t click on a dangerous link from a social network and wouldn’t browse to unsafe sites. They also wouldn’t try to open emails from people they don’t know. Yet, because mobile operating systems are widely viewed as secure, they do just that on smartphones. They shouldn’t.

    8. Access corporate email from unsecured networks
    Earlier, we said users shouldn’t share personal information over unsecured networks. But it goes beyond that. Corporate email is accessible from mobile devices nowadays, and in many cases, it includes important enterprise data. Because of that, cyber-criminals are always spying on unsecured networks in an attempt to steal that data. Beware.

    9. Share location information when away from home
    With services like Foursquare and Facebook Places becoming quite popular this year,more and more people share their location information from their mobile devices. All too often, though, they end up telling people when they are not at home. If the wrong person sees that, those folks might come home to a ransacked house. Location services are great, but they shouldn’t be used so often.

    10. Choose the wrong service plan
    Too often, people get into service plans with carriers and pay too much. Some folks think they won’t use their smartphones nearly as much as they actually do and pay huge sums when they exceed plan limits. Other times, they think they’re going to use them more than they do and end up paying more than they would if they had a lesser plan. Carriers construct service plans to cost users money, but that doesn’t mean customers have to fall for the trap.

  • Interesting article pertaining to the recommended “NTSB ban” from @rickjnewman:disqus

  • As you may know, Virginia is the only state that bans the use and sale of radar detectors. There is no evidence that the radar detector ban increases highway safety. Our nation’s fatality rates have fallen consistently for almost two decades. Virginia’s fatality rate has also fallen, but not any more dramatically than it has nationwide. Research has even shown that radar detector owners have a lower accident rate than motorists who do not own a detector. 

    Maintaining the ban is not in the best interest of Virginians or visitors to the state. Some people will not drive in Virginia due to this ban. Unjust enforcement practices are not unheard of, and radar detectors can keep safe motorists from being exploited by abusive speed traps. Likewise, the ban has a negative impact on Virginia’s business community. Electronic distributors lose business to neighboring states and Virginia misses out on valuable sales tax revenue. 

    Radar detector bans do not work. Research and experience show that radar detector bans do not result in lower accident rates, improved speed-limit compliance or reduce auto insurance expenditures.
    • The Virginia radar detector ban is difficult and expensive to enforce. The Virginia ban diverts precious law enforcement resources from more important duties and this ban may be ILLEGAL.
    • Radar detectors are legal in the rest of the nation, in all 49 other states. In fact, the first state to test a radar detector ban, Connecticut, repealed the law – it ruled the law was ineffective and unfair. It is time for our Virginia to join the rest of the nation. 
    • It has never been shown that radar detectors cause accidents or even encourage motorists to drive faster than they would otherwise. The Yankelovich – Clancy – Shulman Radar Detector Study conducted in 1987, showed that radar detector users drove an average of 34% further between accidents (233,933 miles versus 174,554 miles) than non radar detector users. The study also showed that they have much higher seat belt use compliance. If drivers with radar detectors have fewer accidents, it follows that they have reduced insurance costs – it is counterproductive to ban radar detectors. 
    • In a similar study performed in Great Britain by MORI in 2001 the summary reports that “Users (of radar detectors) appear to travel 50% further between accidents than non-users. In this survey the users interviewed traveling on average 217,353 miles between accidents compared to 143,401 miles between accidents of those non-users randomly drawn from the general public.” The MORI study also reported “Three quarters agree, perhaps unsurprisingly, that since purchasing a radar detector they have become more conscious about keeping to the speed limit…” and “Three in five detector users claim to have become a safer driver since purchasing a detector.” 
    • Modern radar detectors play a significant role in preventing accidents and laying the technology foundation for the Safety Warning System® (SWS). Radar detectors with SWS alert motorists to oncoming emergency vehicles, potential road hazards, and unusual traffic conditions. There are more than 10 million radar detectors with SWS in use nationwide. The federal government has earmarked $2.1 million for further study of the SWS over a three-year period of time. The U.S. Department of Transportation is administering grants to state and local governments to purchase the SWS system and study its effectiveness (for example, in the form of SWS transmitters for school buses and emergency vehicles). The drivers of Virginia deserve the right to the important safety benefits that SWS delivers.

    Please help to repeal this ban and give drivers in Virginia the freedom to know if they are under surveillance:




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Desultory - des-uhl-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee

  1. lacking in consistency, constancy, or visible order, disconnected; fitful: desultory conversation.
  2. digressing from or unconnected with the main subject; random: a desultory remark.