Feds looking to ban all cell phone use in vehicles

America’s Nanny-in-Chief is at it again. Ray LaHood, a former Republican Congressman and now Transportation Secretary in the Obama Administration, is considering a ban on any use of a cell phone while driving.

“I don’t want people talking on phones, having them up to their ear or texting while they’re driving,” LaHood explained in an interview last week with Bloomberg. This and other public statements by LaHood make clear it is his personal view that people should not talk on the phone at all while driving, that is the basis for his anti-cell phone zealotry. The draconian ban LaHood is contemplating would extend even to hands-free sets and new technologies being developed by struggling American automakers to attract new buyers.

LaHood’s crusades against what he perceives as social ills includes bans on texting while driving and mandating seats belts on schools buses. But this latest trial balloon of his, which comes at the same time President Barack Obama is traveling the country promoting a $50 billion infrastructure initiative that includes ambitious plans for high speed rail, is beyond the pale and is the latest of his attempts to “coerce people out of their cars.”

As counterintuitive as it may sound, a study published earlier this year by the Highway Loss Data Institute shows that cell phone bans in three states and the District of Columbia did not lead to less accidents. The laws did, however, increase use of hands-free devices.

Even with a lack of consensus, however, LaHood still has powers at his disposal with which to coerce states into accepting this latest draconian policy of his; such as withholding federal highway funds, much like the federal government did to force states to comply with the nationally-mandated drinking age in the 80’s.

While it is being disguised as a feel good crusade to make us safer, this is the latest example of intrusion by the federal government into an issue that should solely be left to states to decide.

132 comments Add your comment

Joseph

October 13th, 2010
6:41 am

If you had almost been hit on a motorcycle by a driver totally absorbed by his cell phone conversation,
you might see this issue differently.

Also, I have seen people texting while driving being totally oblivious to their surroundings.

Maybe if one of Bob Barr’s family members were killed by one of these distracted self absorbed drivers, he might feel differently.

He is just the typical Republican who cares nothing for his fellow members of society and is piling on Washington, just to have something to do.

Just Curious

October 13th, 2010
6:46 am

I’m not certain this is some anti-driver conspiracy. I would personally favor a ban on cell phone use by drivers while a vehicle is in motion. It has nothing to do with “hands-free” devices; that cop-out is the territory of the ignorant who don’t understand that when the mind is on a conversation and not on the driving, the driver might as well be watching a football game. Ask any skilled driving instructor about the issue. I agree that people should be free to kill themselves if they want. But sometimes the killing includes me and others like me who will not get on a cell phone while driving. If a cell phone conversation is so important, let the driver pull off the road, turn off the engine, and talk to his heart’s content. But he should not be permitted to endanger the rest of us.

Skip

October 13th, 2010
6:49 am

It’s time cars stopped being an entertainment center. You folks who think driving is a part time job, your wrong.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

October 13th, 2010
6:51 am

Thank goodness we have overlords to make the right decisions for us. Since cell phones are so useful to terrorists, why not ban them entirely?

Motocross Survivor

October 13th, 2010
7:05 am

This is one gov’t intrusion I can support. We’ve all got our favorite cell phone in-the-zone stories from out on the roads, but I think my personal fave is from several years ago on 400 Northbound just past Sandy Springs. I was driving along, behind and to the right of a woman drivin and yackin. She had her left blinker on but began drifting over into the lane to her RIGHT, right in front of me, completely oblivious. With so many people driving around half-zonked (yes, I’ve been hit by one–woman blasted off from a STOP sign and slammed into me as I was passing in front of her on Atlanta Country Club Drive) on prescription drugs now, the last thing we need are cell phones, gps, TV’s etc., etc. I’ve had cell phones in the past, but have dumped them. No c phones for me believe it or not. People have clearly become addicted to using these things, yakking for the most trivial of reasons, endlessly. Now, with Web access on them and all the other bells and whistles, they are an unstoppable force and everybody sooooooo neeeeeeeeeds them. All pretty sad.

Mark

October 13th, 2010
7:05 am

Cellphone banning laws are a placebo. Only put in place to make people feel better. As was pointed out, studies showed that it doesn’t decrease accidents. Additionally, phones are NOT the only distractors. If you’re going to ban phones in cars, you should also be banning eating while driving, talking to other people in the car with you while driving, applying make-up while driving, reading while driving, watching movies while driving, and listening to your radio while driving. All of those things are also distractions.

Thrasherville

October 13th, 2010
7:11 am

@Mark. While we’re at, let’s utilize some big brother government heavy hand, and slap some sense into your selfish, nonconformist, late 20th Century, minnie-me, mindset! Oh but not the least…ban Mark!

Still@theBAR

October 13th, 2010
7:13 am

So what is the difference in carrying on a conversation with a passanger in your car than talking on a hands free phone? Some people are to stupid to live.
I don’t need the government to survive everyday life, but the government needs me for it to survive.
No worker can talk on the phone and type on a computer at the same time either. No talking on the phone while you are cooking dinner because you might burn down the kicthen.
If you want to stop traffic accidents why not make all cars have a breathilizer on them so drunks can’t drive. Now, that would make a difference.

Shep

October 13th, 2010
7:19 am

I think that when people are driving, they need to be focused one thing and that is DRIVING. If anyone were to ever hit me while they were driving and talking on the phone, texting, surfing the web, etc. (and I would subpoena their phone records if necessary ) I would take them to court and sue them for neglect (in their driving) and endangerment and take every dollar they have to their name. And no I am not a lawyer, just a person who has had too many near misses with too many dumbass drivers oblivious to thier surroundings while yakking away on the phone.

James

October 13th, 2010
7:23 am

Bob, in the 4th paragraph, first sentence, don’t you mean “fewer accidents” instead of “less accidents”?

jakesdad

October 13th, 2010
7:23 am

well, if we’re shutting down our brains to “think of the children” we’ll have to ban them from cars too – they’re 10x the distraction a hands-free call is (”HE’S TOUCHING ME!” “HER HAND’S ON MY SIDE!” “HE KICKED ME!” “SHE HIT ME 1ST!”)

Still@theBAR

October 13th, 2010
7:30 am

No kids in car seats are allowed in a car unless there are 2 parents/adults( over21). I small child in a car is too distracting for the driver so there has to be an adult to take care of the child. No car can have more than 2 children in it because 3 kids will be screaming and jumping around in the back of the vehicle and cause a distracrtion to the driver.
You people better be real scared. I drive all over Atlanta All Day in a Dump Truck talking on the phone all the time doing business.
Some people can do more than 1 thing and be good at it.
I can have sex, talk dirty at the same time all while watching a football game on TV.
People we don’t need more government in our lives. How the F would any of you people made it on the frontier in say the 1860’s?

Seriously

October 13th, 2010
7:33 am

Today your cell phones, tomorrow…? People had better wake up before it is way too late…we have people in power who are swimming in its ecstasy. This guy is no better than a North Korea dictator…they want to control you in any way possible.

Silverchief

October 13th, 2010
7:34 am

Hey Joseph, I was hit by a car, but the guy wasn’t talking or texting on a phone, he was tring to find a radio station on his radio, wanna ban radios from cars??

Just another typical Democrat that wants the Guberment to control every aspect of our life………

Still@theBAR

October 13th, 2010
7:37 am

I just learned something. There was never a car accident before cell phones.

shaggy

October 13th, 2010
7:38 am

There are already laws in place covering this. It’s very simple. Reckless Driving.
The problem is enforcement by a cop that is himself, engrossed in their cell phone conversation, or even texting themselves.
We don’t need a law for everything. Enforce the ones on the books.
We need a law that bans new laws, until the ones on the books are actually enforced.

Still@theBAR

October 13th, 2010
7:40 am

Here is your last warning
This Dump Truck Driving Cell Phone User is about to head out and I will be on the roads. Run scared get in your safe lil office now.
PS I am allowed to carry a gun too.

Marky

October 13th, 2010
7:41 am

Hey I know… let’s just ban all conversation with the driver. Even the passengers inside the car. That’s about how much sense it makes to ban hands free devices.

shaggy

October 13th, 2010
7:44 am

Another thought.
Since these car things are very dangerous. Let’s just ban them. Dust off the horses and carriages….uh oh, those are dangerous too, scratch that. Someone will get kicked or thrown from their horse, while eating a hamburger in the saddle. Then, it’s lawyer time all over again.
Wait a minute, I got it. Let’s ban all concourse of humans. If we don’t interact with the environment, we will all be safe and snuggled in our lawyer free space. Free at last!

Aquagirl

October 13th, 2010
7:48 am

It’s our God-given Constitutional right to kill people while blabbing on the phone. Awesome, Bob.

shaggy

October 13th, 2010
7:49 am

Strill@the BAR,

You don’t scare me. i am a heavy equipment hauler. I have sex, talk dirty, and watch a football game on an I-Pad…while driving 75 MPH on I-285.
Top that loser!

shaggy

October 13th, 2010
7:52 am

Still@the BAR,

Another thing. i am special forces trained as a sniper and have bad breath.

Lewis

October 13th, 2010
7:52 am

There are already laws against distracted driving. What’s needed is consequences to bad behavior. I favor summary executions. The sight of a driver being shot at the side of the road (texting his last tweet and testament) might cause others to reconsider if they really need to let their friends know that they’ll be there in seven minutes instead of six.

KimZ'sPackage

October 13th, 2010
7:53 am

Aquagirl
You Are Wrong. It is our right to get hammered falling down drunk and get in a car that doesn’t have a built-in Breathealizer and kill people.
Can you not drive and carry on a conversation with a passanger in your car and not have a wreck?
Have you people seen CASH CAB? The TV gameshow in a NY city cab. If the cabbie can do that and not wreck I think I can handle driving and talking on a phone.

DebbieDoRight

October 13th, 2010
7:54 am

Well Bob have no worries abt. cell phone use, you may not be able to text in Georgia but you can still text your newest “young thing” while driving in all the other states AND if you’re lucky, (which since Viagara has come out you’ve been having a streak lately), you can even get a sextext back from her!! (Well, as long as her homework is done and her mom doesn’t find out…….)

Motocross Survivor

October 13th, 2010
7:55 am

@Still@theBAR wrote:”So what is the difference in carrying on a conversation with a passanger in your car than talking on a hands free phone? Some people are to stupid to live.”

This is a stock retort to this issue. The mind dynamics of talking to a person in the car with you is different from talking to a person not physically present, but somewhere else. It’s “too” btw.

” No talking on the phone while you are cooking dinner because you might burn down the kicthen.”

Poor analogy. Driving a car and preparing dinner at home are completely different situations. Driving requires more alertness and gives far less wiggle room with time for reaction.

“If you want to stop traffic accidents why not make all cars have a breathilizer on them so drunks can’t drive. Now, that would make a difference.”

Good idea, but not practical because statistically, far, far more drivers will yack and drive than will get into their car drunk.

shaggy

October 13th, 2010
7:56 am

DebbieDoRight,

Are you the same Debbie that does Dallas? Sounds like it. Just curious.

landover

October 13th, 2010
7:58 am

Go to bogota colombia and you will see talking on cellphones while driving is not allowed. That is one of the benefits of going there in addition to there are no overweight people there.

shaggy

October 13th, 2010
7:59 am

Aquagirl,

Don’t fret. One day, you too will be able to afford a cell phone. I know using the library computer to post on blogs must get old.
Now, back to risking my life by, LIVING IT!

Motocross Survivor

October 13th, 2010
8:00 am

In addition to the yacking distraction, don’t forget the preparation. A lot of times I see the idiots fiddling around with their damn monkey toy long before they start the yack–pressing buttons, checking voice mail etc. I’ve seen it a hundred times. They start to weave, usually slow down, sit at green lights….most people are simply too dendrite challenged to drive and play with their toys at the same time. Lots are not good drivers even WITHOUT the distractions.

lin

October 13th, 2010
8:01 am

what talk about ban the cell phone – would love to add to the list
start with cb that truckers use while driving
then there the walkie talkie workers etc use
reading newspaper or magazine truckers due or even in vehicles
eating with hands and drive with knees
talking with hands off the wheel
this is only a few listings i am sure we could list a whole lot more
worse one is the drunk and wrong way driver

KimZ'sPackage

October 13th, 2010
8:03 am

Landover then why don’t you move to the Cocain Capitol in Colombia and have a blast of gun fire kill you if you drive down the wrong street.

Near Miss?

October 13th, 2010
8:04 am

@James, too many “near misses”…..wouldn’t that be a hit…if you nearly miss something, you actually hit it…..right?

shaggy

October 13th, 2010
8:04 am

Motocross Survivor,

Just do what everyone else does. If you are hit by someone on a cell phone, texting, etc…, just beat the crap out of them…if you are not dead or being loaded into am ambulance.

You ought to try it sometime. It makes you feel much better, punching the dweeb texter multiple times.

interested observer

October 13th, 2010
8:05 am

For those who oppose a ban on cell phone use while driving, here’s an alternative.

Whenever a driver is at fault in an accident causing injuries or fatalities, require the authorities to check his/her cell phone records to determine if he or she was on the phone at the time. Then implement mandatory prison time and mandatory steep fines for the cell phone use at the time of accidents. And I mean years in prison and tens of thousands of dollars in fines.

Just be prepared to build and staff a lot of jails.

As for the nanny state Bob mentions in every post, sadly it is very clear that an awful lot of Americans NEED nannies, being unable to make responsible decisions for themselves. While I don’t think the government is up to the challenge, it is easy to understand why the trend is to more restrictions. American citizens are irresponsible and selfish and we don’t want anyone to get in the way of our rights, no matter how adversely they affect others.

Motocross Survivor

October 13th, 2010
8:05 am

@Shaggy Tell us something. Just what is the content of most of your yacking while on your c phone? My guess is most of it is of the “hey, whatcha doin” variety. Now that’s really living! Tell me something else; just what did you yackers DO just a few years ago when these things didn’t exist? How in the world did you survive????

shaggy

October 13th, 2010
8:09 am

Motocross Survivor,

I gues the the thought beating the crap out of them makes you cry like a little girl. Too bad for you. It frees your soul.

paleo-neo-Carlinist

October 13th, 2010
8:09 am

I must admit this is a libertarian conundrum for me. sure, life, liberty and the…, but fact is, most folks can’t handle freedom (well, the responsibility that comes with it). how much cell phone in car use provides ‘general Welfare’ etc.?

KimZ'sPackage

October 13th, 2010
8:11 am

Motocross he probably survied the same way people survived before TV, Radio, & Electricity.
We need to ban video games. They are making our children Fat, Stupid, and Violent.

shaggy

October 13th, 2010
8:11 am

Motocross Survivor,

I even go and find people that are just walking and talking on a cell phone and beat the crap out of them too. It sharpens the skills for those times when they are needed.

shaggy

October 13th, 2010
8:14 am

Eeeek! How DID I survive before cell phones? That is a very deep thought….for a moron.

Screaming little girl, who said I even have a cell phone, or a car?

KimZ'sPackage

October 13th, 2010
8:22 am

Shaggy just smokes dope, eats, sleeps with Scoobie-Doo, and rides in the back of the Mystery Machine.

Cutty

October 13th, 2010
8:22 am

Barr has been riding in he back of limos too long. Try driving on the connector for a week in rush hour and see how he feels then.

Near Miss?

October 13th, 2010
8:24 am

@KimZ’sPackage it’s not the video games, it the parents making the kids fat, stupid, and violent. But adults are not policed on the road by parents, that is what the law is for….APPROVE the law, BAN them for good while driving!

Aquagirl

October 13th, 2010
8:27 am

I thought Shaggy was doing Velma?

shaggy

October 13th, 2010
8:29 am

KimZ’sPackage,

Yeah, that really stung, coming from a nasty “package” person. Let me guess, you voted for “change” and don’t know anything about government, business, etc… However, you can name every American Idol and never miss TMZ.

Eric

October 13th, 2010
8:29 am

If the research indicates a ban on cellphones has no effect on the number of auto accidents, then we don’t a ban. Certainly not at the federal level too.

KA

October 13th, 2010
8:30 am

A woman in an Expedition with South Carolina plates nearly hit me yesterday as she drifted into my lane on I-85 as I commuted home. I moved to another lane and she did it again farther up the road. When I finally got abreast of her car I could see her head was down, she was not looking at the road, and she was texting! Are there highway signs at the Georgia border that inform drivers that it is against the law to text in Georgia? In my opinion all non emergency cell phone use should be banned. Everyday I see cars randomly speeding up and slowing down, weaving or drifting into other lanes, and if I pass by them they are usually on their cell talking or texting. I already had my car totaled when someone plowed into me when I was at a full stop in traffic on I-85. I don’t know if the guy was on his cell, but he sure wasn’t paying attention. Distracted drivers are dangerous to everyone around them, and cell phones are huge distractions. We would all be safer on the road if all non emergency cell phone use was banned, no matter who passes the law, feds or states.

shaggy

October 13th, 2010
8:31 am

Aquagirl,

Velma might wear glasses, but she is a screamer in bed. A total freak. Likes reverse cowgirl.

Ward

October 13th, 2010
8:33 am

I believe passengers should be banned from cars; all that needless chatter in the car distracts the driver. No radios… too much noise. And kids… no kids in the car. They scream, they fight, they throw things. Perhaps the driver should be locked in an isolation chamber where they are protected from the outside world… oh wait, they already are. Or at least, they seem to think so…