Texting Bans

Instapundit on Possible Talking-While-Driving Ban: Prohibit Tailgating Instead


Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit writes about the National Transportation Safety Board's bizarre recommendation to prohibit non-emergency use of cell phones while driving:

Despite the focus on texting as a cause of this particular accident, and on this accident as purported evidence that drivers should be banned from using portable devices, NTSB's own report shows that the drivers involved in this scary wreck were involved because of driver inattention having nothing to do with cellphones, texting, or any other personal electronic devices. It was just the old-fashioned kind of driver inattention that has caused most accidents since the beginning of the automobile age, and that could have been prevented by a little attention to proper following distance and the road ahead….

Yet the No. 1 recommendation of the NTSB to the states is to "ban the nonemergency use of portable electronic devices (other than those designed to support the driving task) for all drivers." This selective focus suggests an agenda, and certainly those of us who have been paying attention to the various pronouncements coming from the NTSB and other highway-safety advocates have noticed a strain of hostility to cellphones and other devices for quite some time, despite a paucity of evidence suggesting that such devices are especially dangerous.

Read whole thing in Popular Mechanics.

Elsewhere, former Reasoner Radley Balko says the proposed laws "are about symbolism."

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  1. It’s still up to the states.

    1. So is the drinking age. They all fell into line when Congress threatened their highway funds.

      1. That’s how they implement laws & regs that they have no constitutional authority to impose.

      2. States and counties and municipalities have wildly divergent drinking laws. The minimum age is simply the most visible and the easiest to mandate, and it has many exclusions nationwide. The highway funding penalty diminishes the federal contribution by only 10%, and the ultimate choice of whether to obey federal “suggestions” still rests with the individual states.


  3. ive had 2 collisions w other cars running red lights while the drivers were talking on cells.

    1. And your life experience is all we need to make a new law.

    2. People never ran red lights before cell phones.

    3. Third time’s the charm.

    4. I’ve had 2 collisions where someone turned left when they shouldn’t have. LET’S BAN TURNING LEFT!

      1. That’s what New Jersey does. Except they replace left turn intersections with… jughandles. (Whaaa??) Roundabouts would be better: they are statistically much safer AND they have much better traffic flow than intersections.

    5. and ive had no other accidents in my 20 yr driving history.

    6. I’ve never been struck by a driver running a red light, ever.

      I think my anecdote trumps yours.

      1. course using a cell and OBEYING traffic laws aint the problem. it tries moar harder

  4. Well the irony is is all the police I see these days driving around with a cell phone to their ear.

    I have a hands free phone that I seldom use. It is handy at times.

    Texting probably should be banned while driving.

    Hands free phones are probably OK. I just don’t answer the other phone.

    But a lot of people I feel are overusing the phone in the car. You have to watch em cause they are off somewhere else in their heads.

    1. Are they also off somewhere else when using a hands free set? How about when talking to a passenger in the back? When singing along to the radio? Eating? Putting on makeup? Reading the newspaper?

      1. Daydreaming? Looking at billboards? Searching for speed traps?

    2. I see cops with the phone to their ears all the time, they of course will be excepted from any law. Some shit about “training” or “emergencies” will be offered, as if they’re not just riding around arguing with their wives.

      1. All jobs come with perks. In the case of law enforcement one of the perks is that you can flout the law.

        1. Stupidity x two. I suppose you think that a cop’s prerogative to carry a firearm is also a “perk” that allows him to “flout” the law? And what’s with those fancy lights and loud siren? Who does he think he is? The representative of an institution charged by the public with the task of protecting their rights under an objective code of rules?

          1. So you’re saying that what is dangerous for every other person in America is perfectly safe for cops? Like they have special powers or something? Do they get them from the uniform or is there some kind of secret ceremony where they’re bestowed?

            1. Oh Sparky, Sparky.
              Only people who have been trained by government are qualified to do anything.
              If you have not been trained by government then you are not qualified to do anything.
              Once you have been trained by government you are qualified to do anything.
              Government training is magic.

              1. Does anyone here take your anarchist nonsense seriously, or are you merely tolerated, as a sort of unofficial Fool?

                1. Wow – do you still beat your wife?

                  1. Unofficial Fool it is!

                    1. For an official fool see this DEA agent shoot himself with his own gun, just after he assures his audience that he is the only one in the room professional enough to be trusted with it.

          2. Cops don’t protect rights, and they don’t prevent crime.

            They enforce laws that violate natural rights, and they investigate crimes that have already occurred.

  5. We need to ban talk radio because it is very distracting
    -Let’s start with Rush

  6. My little boy loves those ducks.

  7. I’m surprised they didn’t just go ahead and ban cars.

  8. LOL, so they really think people will start paying attention if they ban cellphone use.

    Those of us old enough to remember driving before the cellphone came into use know better.

  9. Cell phones turn Caucasian and Negro drivers into Asians. The complete inattentiveness to what’s going on around them is stunning. It even makes people walk badly- my grocery store trips take twice as long because of the fucking morons standing in the middle of the aisles yakking away.

    In my neighborhood (80% Asian), the cell phone use transforms already-terrible drivers into total disasters. Shit, I have to drive to work now- it’s not going to be pretty.

  10. As several Reason writers have noted previously, if cellphone use is the deathly hazard we are told it is, where are the statistics showing the correlation between auto fatalities and widespread cellphone use?

    1. u mean w the reduced driving from the bush ecomony?

      1. How can you speak, with all those Dem cocks in your mouth?

  11. There is absolutely nothing on earth as dangerous in a car as squabbling children, especially those large enough to be out of car seats. Should they be banned as well? The issue is being responsible behind the wheel. If you cause harm and you were on the phone, you should be prosecuted for negligence. If you don’t why should you be restricted just “in case” even if you might NEVER cause harm because you ARE being responsible????

    1. Let’s stop playing around and just ban driving. We people simply cannot be trusted with that level of responsibility. Besides, driving causes global warming/climate change.

    2. except the testing ive read shows talking on a cell reduces reaction times down to a DUI level similar to extreme fatigue.

      1. Let’s agree that texting/talking on the phone slows the reaction time to the same as someone with .08.

        The question I have, is if the proposed ban causes the vast majority of people to say “well yeah, you aren’t as good a driver, but it isn’t like it is super dangerous or anything”, doesn’t that mean you should raise the DUI level back up to .10 or .12?

        I’m with Eva, I want to see the numbers. How many people die simply because they were texting/talking? And how many crashes are caused by .08 or .09?

    3. China doesn’t have a problem with kids squabbling in the back seat.

  12. LOL, Its gonna take a lot more than some stupid law to get me off my phone. I have illegal tinted windows anyways lol.

    1. yea till u reer end & kill sum1

      link FALE btw

  13. Don’t states already have laws about ‘distracted driving’? Or am I just hallucinating that portion of the Traffic Code?

  14. The amount of cellphone usage is much higher than it was even just a few years ago, yet, number of total accidents has gone down. Not just fatal accidents, total accidents.

    1. as has total milage driven due to the gop economy we’re recovering from

      1. So accidents are mostly a function of miles driven and have little or no correlation with cell phone use. I think that’s what some on here were suggesting. Thanks for helping to clear that up.

        1. its not an either/or.

  15. portable electronic devices (other than those designed to support the driving task)

    In other words, squinting at the tiny map on your GPS is okay.

    Or fiddling with your BM

    1. BM. Bulky Manhood? Big Melons? Brequency Modulation?

      1. Bowel Movement.

        1. Brow Mopping?

  16. erp-

    Or fiddling with your BMW’s iDrive (whatever the fuck that thing even does- can it remap the ignition curve as you go whistling down the highway?).

  17. Meanwhile, the Bozeman (Montana) City Council, in their infinite wisdom, just made driving-while-cellphoning illegal in the city. Because they are progressives, and take their sacred duty to run your life seriously. Nobody will die on their watch!

    1. Does that law apply to government employees?
      Or can cops and ambulance drivers continue to talk with friends and family through that device that they continually press to their ear?

      1. what about enemies. I mean, they’ve got people to intimidate and they’ve still go to drive places.

  18. What about EATING when driving?

    1. In my experience, that has been illegal in many, if not most states, for a looooong time.

      Here’s a hint: when you’re driving a car, you’re supposed to be DRIVING THE CAR. Focus! It ain’t all that hard.

      1. When did they ban drive thru windows?

        1. Pretty sure it’s not illegal other than if it leads to reckless driving. Then it’s the reckless driving that’s illegal. (at least from what I can find.)

        2. Oh you can buy the food and drive around with it in your car, but you asked about EATING “while driving.”

          1. BTW, it varies by state, of course. Pretty much every state these days publishes their laws on the intertubez – so go have a lookie-lou and figger it out.

            1. That’s what I mean. It’s not illegal in my state, or several others- at a glance.

              1. In a lot of states I think that the rule is that you have to have both hands on the wheel unless you are shifting or doing something else necessary to driving and that is how eating while driving is banned.

                1. See, I grew up and learned to drive in the People’s Democratic Republic of New Jersey, so it was drilled into our mushy teenage skulls that this was the rule. In NJ, last I knew, it was illegal to have ANY open beverage container within reach of the driver – not just alcohol, but ANY open container.

        3. Silly sarcasmic, you’re supposed to jump out windows, not drive thru them.

  19. Burgeoning Misanthropy.

    1. Bozeman, Montana?

  20. Enforce already in-place lane driving restrictions.

  21. And oral sex while driving? Is that out now too?!

    1. Giving, or receiving?

        1. I don’t think it’s covered explicitly…

          1. So as long as I’m only getting roadhead implicitly?

          2. Well then clearly a new law is needed!

            1. So, driver can’t give, but can only receive- unless a female is driving and the giver is NOT another female.

              Basically, all female received oral sex that is not lesbian in nature is against the law. Male reception, however, should be encouraged to combat road rage.

  22. Eventually they will mandate some safety feature that slows the car (radar? sonar?) when it gets too close to the car in front of it based on speed. This will end tailgating and reduce the distraction-related accident rate to almost nothing.

    1. I would rather the technology downshift, gun it, and swerve around them.

  23. They should ban cute chicks walking on the side of the road. Because about 12 or 15 years ago, a guy I used to work with was driving in rush-hour traffic and looked at a cute babe who was on the side of the road, when he smashed into the car in front of him. Totaled the car he was driving.

    I hope she was smokin’ hot and worth the look.

    1. We have been recommending burkhas for years, but no one listens.

  24. Does that law apply to government employees?


    1. Recalculating. Recalculating. . . .


      1. But even you aren’t full Dalek!

  25. The NTSB is like a baby in a crib* — they don’t understand what they’re doing, they just like to see the mobile spin.

    * if only it were the drop-side variety!

  26. Bifurcated Mandate

  27. Never drink and drive; you might get distracted and spill your drink.

  28. Driving itself is distracting!
    The Government should ban driving!

  29. So, there is an exception for GPS? That seems just as dangerous as texting or talking on the phone. Plus, GPS turns people into retards with no sense of direction or where they actually are and who can’t read a fucking map.

    1. I defy the GPS so much that my little girl will say “No, GPS! I’m not listening to you” from the backseat.

      1. I just can’t stand the things. I love maps and I like to know where I am and where I am going.

        1. It’s useful and can be used as a map, so I’m glad we have it. But I wouldn’t want to depend on it or its often bizarre recommendations.

      2. Our GPS thinks that one street to our house is optimal, but in reality another street is.

        When we pass up the GPS street to go with plan B, my boys and I always start singing JP’s “Breaking the law”.

        1. We need better AI that can learn from its mistakes.

    2. I think if GPS became as much of a problem as cell phone use then it would be banned as easily. Lots of people have GPS, but it is rarely, if ever, used. It was more of a status symbol/fun toy than anything of actual use.

      1. I know people who rely on GPS like it was part of their brain.

  30. Also make it illegal for hot women to bend over when I’m driving by.

  31. The number of people who seriously buy the ban on even hands-free devices is disturbing.

    I find people insisting that there are scientific studies showing that hands-free devices are more distracting than passenger conversations (bullshit).

    There is a notion setting in that any ‘distraction’ from driving is a dangerous thing that should be regulated. This despite the fact that driving is full of all sorts of distractions that cannot be controlled for. (Daydreaming, etc.)

    There is also a vast difference between merely driving while “distracted” and actually taking your eyes off the road and you hands off the wheel, as in texting. Somehow the NTSB has managed to convince everyone that “distractions” worthy of regulation include not just “acitivites that force you to remove your hands from the wheel and engage in a complex task that also requires your visual attention”, but also, “activities that might make you think about something other than driving”.

    The correct response to distracted drivers is to practice defense driving and make sure you have appropriate following distances between yourself and other vehicles, so you have time to respond. Get out of a crowded lane and hang back or slow down if traffic gets too thick.

    The irony is that the people demanding that all distractions be eliminated are really people who don’t want to bother paying that much attention to the road themselves. They want the law to force other people to be less distracted, so they don’t have to pay attention to the possibility of distracted drivers around them.

  32. My theory is that boredom while driving and subsequent zoning out is what is really dangerous, so using a cellphone, eating, smoking, radio, whatever keeps the brain going is ultimately going to keep the focus up. I’m convinced people who think we should do *absolutely nothing* except concentrate on driving have never had to drive on a freeway for more than 15 minutes.

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