Driver Cell Phone Ban Only the Beginning
Unless you live in a cave or on a desert island with no Internet, no TV, and no radio, you've probably heard that the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is calling for a nationwide ban on mobile phone use while driving - even when used handsfree.
"According to NHTSA, more than 3,000 people lost their lives last year in distraction-related accidents", said Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman. "It is time for all of us to stand up for safety by turning off electronic devices when driving."
"No call, no text, no update, is worth a human life."
Unbeknownst to the rest of the world, the NTSB is planning on going well beyond to make the roads safer. Although the organization has now power to create laws, it is drafting legislation it hopes will be adopted by the 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia.
Based on National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data, 90% of traffic deaths do not involve texting or talking on the phone, so legislation will have to increase the scope of coverage to have the desired impact.
The first of these targets a wide range of personal electronic devices including mobile phones, personal computers, tablets, On Star, and CB radios, which is likely to have America's truckers in an uproar. Of course, that also means no more calls to 911 about traffic accidents or to police departments in response to an Amber Alert or other warning - at least not by the driver.
Also according to NTSB data, 85% of traffic accidents occur while the driver is listening to the radio, so that's the next thing to go. By the 2015 model year, car stereos should be a thing of the past. Passengers who want to listen to music will have to use their own radios or MP3 players.
The goal is distraction-free driving, and there's no denying that a crying baby or a set of bickering children is a distraction, so one of the proposed laws puts an end to infants and multiple children in the car. Further, adult passengers will be required to remain silent to avoid distracting the driver, which means a merciful end to the back seat driver.
Spilled drinks, especially hot ones, can be a serious distraction, so 2015 and later cars will no longer have cup holders accessible by the driver, preventing accidents caused by a coffee or Big Gulp spill. Other legislation will ban the drive-through, since eating while driving is also distracting. Sorry, Mickey D's, Starbucks, and all the rest, you'll just have to force those customers to walk inside.
Other legislative proposals target electronic billboards and those that change images. Electronic billboards will not be banned, but they will not be allowed to change more than once per day, which will also apply to the billboards with three rotating ads. This is actually a plus for people who want to note a phone number or URL, because you know how they change just before you have a chance to record them.
Roads near beaches will have solid fencing installed to keep drivers from gawking at the scantily clad females and buff males on the beach, which should further reduce the traffic death rate.
There's really no end to the kind of Big Brother legislation that's possible when the nanny state wants to reduce the traffic death rate.
Funny thing is, while the NTSB is all bent out of shape over cell phones, the NHTSA reports that 2010 had the lowest traffic fatality rate in recorded history. Of course, nobody was talking on their mobile phones or texting in 2010.
That's the only possible explanation for the NTSB's attempts to ban the use of mobiles by drivers.
- Anne Onymus
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