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

KimZ'sPackage

October 13th, 2010
8:34 am

Near Miss?
Just because some people can’t handle it why should I have to suffer?
Hell most people can’t stay faithful or married. Lets ban marriage too.
I have been driving for 28 years and driving with a cell phone for about 12 years and I have not had an accident. I do not like texting because you have to take your eyes off the road too much. It doesn’t take that long to punch in a phone number and get your eyes back on the road.

KimZ'sPackage

October 13th, 2010
8:35 am

Velma was the nerd that did all the work. She didn’t have time for sex.

chris

October 13th, 2010
8:37 am

I am 100% in favor of banning cell phone use while driving.

Krystal Kid

October 13th, 2010
8:38 am

80% percent of all rear end collisions (the most frequent vehicle accident) are caused by driver distractions. I doubt if we’ll ever stop the madness so I got one of these from sparebumper.com – to reduce whiplash and protect my family.

shaggy

October 13th, 2010
8:39 am

Yes, you could say Velma does “the work”. Those nerd types are full of surprises and unfulfilled passion. Just gotta crack the seal to let the freak out.

Small-Business-Owning Tea Partier

October 13th, 2010
8:41 am

I don’t need Hussein Obama telling me when I can and can’t use my cell phone, just like I don’t him telling me I have to take my kids to the doctor. If I want to let them die from lack of medical attention, that’s my God-given right as an American!

shaggy

October 13th, 2010
8:41 am

OK, you folks that want everything but breathing banned. There are already laws on the books that cover this.
Why, pray tell, why do we need more laws that also won’t be enforced?

KimZ'sPackage

October 13th, 2010
8:43 am

Shaggy you sound like a real republican for sure. The only work it sounds like you do is to fill the bong and surf for porn.

Call it like it is

October 13th, 2010
8:43 am

Don’t care what the studies say, cell phones are a hazard. As an insurance adjuster for 20 years, I can tell you for fact they have increased accidents. Lets face it most of our fellow citizens shouldnt even be behind a wheel. You then give them a cell phone, gps system, handheld games and so forth, just one more thing to make them a poor driver.

*Hell last week had a guy come in who had taken his airbag out of his steering wheel and put in a small video screen that was tied into a dvd player that would allow him to play games or watch movies. Of course he is no longer insured with us, but he and his kind are still out on the road.

No body wants a nanny gov, but just damn there is a lot of dumb people out there.

Road Scholar

October 13th, 2010
8:44 am

Regardless, when operating a motor vehicle, you are operating a WEAPON! Treat it as such.

PS Lately, people w/cell phones have been driving too slowly on surface streets(below the speed limit) and leaving their turn signals on( I know that is amazing since no one in Atlanta uses a turn signal), and turning into side streets very slowly, totally engrossed in their world/conversation. How about a law which makes it ok to stop the car, take their cell phone, and throw it on the pavement or in the woods? Wake up people….you are not the only one on this planet!

Carlosgvv

October 13th, 2010
8:50 am

Since statistics show that using cell phones while driving is as dangerous as drunk driving, why would you object to their being banned? Maybe large numbers of people being killed doesn’t upset you as long as you can do what you want.

Common Man

October 13th, 2010
8:50 am

Shaggy is all blab…he talks about kicking butt to make up for his lack of self esteem from all the times he had sand kicked in his face on the playground. Cartoon sex is as good as it gets for him. We must pity the fool.

john

October 13th, 2010
8:52 am

Two cell phone users in the past week are lucky I saw them and avoided the accident they would have caused. What has to happen before the need for a law becomes obvious?

Ban the use of cells phones while driving. It is appropriate regulation.

Gator Joe

October 13th, 2010
8:56 am

Bob,
Don’t worry, because, the cell-phone companies, and the Chamber of Commerce money funnel will see to it that cell phone use while driving is never banned, even if means more people being needlessly killed or injured.

JDW

October 13th, 2010
8:59 am

So Bob, how do you feel about the intrusion to our liberty by drunken driving laws. Isn’t it terrible how the government can be so bold as to tell us how to behave behind the wheel.

You do realize that studies show drunk drivers are safer than those talking on a phone?

Pappa Grizzly

October 13th, 2010
8:59 am

I have a constitutional right to drive while talking on the phone or texting. If there is an accident and someone gets killed, they have a right to sue me. I then have a right to file bankruptcy and not pay a dime to my “victims.”

If you don’t like it. Stay off the road.

Richard

October 13th, 2010
9:00 am

People in Atlanta have a hard time driving normally. Get them off the phone at the bare minimum.

shaggy

October 13th, 2010
9:01 am

Common Man,

Wow, you must take this blog very personal. That is unhealthy and you should pound sand where the sun don’t shine.

KimZ’sPackage,

You two might be the same person, or experiencing the realms of sensuality together. i am not sure. I don’t care either.
Twits like you always confuse Libertarianism, in it’s many flavors, with Republican political bent. The truth is that most Libertarians know that there is no difference in the dominant parties. They both will tell you what you want to hear, so they can be elected and couldn’t care less about your mosquito brain. That is all they are about.
If you really want “change” start voting pragmatic libertarians into office. “Change” would be almost guaranteed.

Common Sense

October 13th, 2010
9:04 am

Oh – and we also need to ban iPods, sattelite radio, crap rolling around in the floor, reading maps, street signs, nav units, hot chicks (or guys) on the roadside, that Gorilla on Floor and Decor on 85, sunlight in the morning and evening, wrecks on the side of the road, signs on businesses, hitchhikers, pretty flowers in the median, and any car color other than brown.

This way we can clearly focus on driving, and no daydreaming darn it, just drive

nelson

October 13th, 2010
9:07 am

According to a Harvard study, cell phones cause over 200 deaths and half a million injuries a year. That being said, cell phones have initiated a whole new field of employment, “cell phone accident lawyers.” There is a new specialty that lawyers are now pursing. Now, instead of getting into the more noble pursuit of Constitutional law, there are new opportunities.

I really have to give those guys credit, they can sniff business a mile away.

However, that being said, the solution to cell phone accidents, is having a teleprompter like President Obama uses, have the dialogue flashed on your windshield, then your eyes will not have to leave the road. Like those super sonic jet pilots have their target right on their winshield, this will reallllly work.

KimZ'sPackage

October 13th, 2010
9:14 am

nelson
Pilots have only a few other objects in the sky with them. The Heads Up Display is not letters he reads. You can’t read and drive any better than talking on a phone. Your eyes will be focused on the letters a few inches from your face not the Objects 30 feet from your windsheild.

Still@theBAR

October 13th, 2010
9:15 am

If 200 people die from driving and cell phones then there are 200 more jobs that need to be filled. In this economy that is a good thing right?

Near Miss?

October 13th, 2010
9:29 am

@KimZ’sPackage infedility and a bad marriage does not impact the public and strangers that walk beside you. Talking on a cellphone while driving can and will impact others. Just because it hasnt happened yet, doesnt mean that it wont. Help save the public when possible, including your family and friends.

Still@theBAR

October 13th, 2010
9:46 am

near miss
I think studies show failed marriages impact the child a lot. Doesn’t the PUBLIC need to be protected from this terrible curse too. Those children from broken homes do crimes and go to jail more often. You know I am kidding about banning marriage, but just because something kills you can’t ban it. Hell too much read meat, smoking, drinking, driving by itself can get you killed and it not be somebody elses fault.
Grow a pair and stand on your own 2 feet. The Government is too big already. 1000 page healthcare bill and a lot of it has nothing to do with healthcare at all.
Make a NEW LAW that everytime the government (on any level) wants to pass a new bill/law, then they have to take 2 bills/laws off the books.

Jefferson

October 13th, 2010
10:10 am

If they don’t ban them in cars, they have no hair on their butt.

jm

October 13th, 2010
10:21 am

It’s a great idea. Until the Google self driving cars hit the road.

Tim

October 13th, 2010
10:38 am

Studies have shown that use of handsfree devices are not safer. There is no debate about the safety risk of cell phone and electronic device use while driving. Any desenting opinions are coming from the communications and automotive industries.

LaHood is right. A cell phone ban is needed.

Stu

October 13th, 2010
10:41 am

I think you all are missing Bob’s point. It’s in the last sentence.
This is none of the business of the federal govenment. States should have the final say in whether or not they want to ban cell phone use.

Gixxer 1000

October 13th, 2010
10:52 am

As a pistol carrying biker I must say that I support this to an extent. I too have had near misses from people yakking on their phones and/texting while driving…but what I do is if you drift in my lane….1 of 3 things WILL happen…. one involves a dent in your door and the other involves your rear view mirror being kicked off…and if you’re feeling froggy and you wanna jump…the last one involves my pistol….now that I”ve gotten that out….LOOK TWICE SAVE A LIFE BIKERS ARE EVERYWHERE….but I am an SUV driver as well and I have bluetooth in my truck….I don’t see any difference between talking with someone riding with me and when I”m on the phone in my truck because my phone is never in my hand….so that’s why I say I agree with it to an extent…just about ALL phones are now bluetooth capable and now with speech to text on most phones there should be no excuse for people who need to hold their device while driving….they just need to learn how to use the technology on the phones they buy…..

Sandman

October 13th, 2010
10:55 am

This is just crazy! Next we’re going to be told that we can’t speak to the person next to us in the car because we would be engaged in conversation & that would be too dangerous.. No radio or music either because that can distract us from driving.. Oh, children will must be banned from vehicles now because they’re the most distracting thing ever..

Really people! Do we need our government to protect us from life & everything else? Life happens, people make mistakes, their are stupid people out there and accidents happen ALL THE TIME! These accidents happen with or without cell phones, or alcohol or text messaging etc.. What about the women driving & putting on make up or the people reading the paper or books? Should we outlaw those things too?

It is always some sort of fear or pain that opens the door for more government control or intrusion.. Stop for a second & think.. I’ve been listening to the radio, changing the channel, changing CD’s, talking on the phone (w/headset), talking to my children, eating a hamburger & fries, reading maps…. And many many other things in the car for over 20 years and I haven’t had any major accidents or killed anyone.. Don’t let the stupid mistakes of a few people ruin our freedom because you are unable to think or act for yourself.

Fix-IT

October 13th, 2010
11:08 am

Make BlueTooth standard in cars, then hands free only….

Glenn

October 13th, 2010
11:09 am

Because some people are very bad drivers , talking or texting on a cell phone should be banned . I’ll take safety over the freedom to use a cell phone while driving any day . We need a strong military to keep us safe so we can let irresponsible drivers endanger us . Your nanny government argument is weak .

Dr. Pangloss

October 13th, 2010
11:33 am

Once we were at an intersection when a nice lady talking on her cell phone zoomed up and hit us without even trying to slow down. Knocked our car out into the middle of the intersection, but we were lucky: no other cars were coming, so we ONLY had our car totaled. Guess what? When somebody totals your car, the insurance company only pays you the value of the car, not the amount it takes to buy a replacement, so you’re out thousands of dollars because of somebody else’s stupid mistake.

And Bob is just a liar when he talks as if hands-free makes any difference.

I love the part of the Constitution that says, “The people’s right to be stupid shall not be infringed.”

HoyaLawya

October 13th, 2010
11:42 am

I’ve got it! Let’s install the “cone of silence” around drivers. That will solve all the problems.

DawgDad

October 13th, 2010
12:19 pm

A ban is the WRONG answer. Cell phones can be very useful in certain driving situations without being a threat to safety. Why should it be against the law for me to use a cell phone if I witness and accident or need to warn someone of a jam-up or if I’m lost? Punish bad behavior – driving while dangerously distracted. I have absolutely no problem with hands-free laws, but a ban is completely over the top and wrong-headed.

Vote these people out.

Mike

October 13th, 2010
12:34 pm

To KimZ: Just because you haven’t had an accident doesn’t mean you might not have CAUSED an accident by lane drifting (thereby causing someone else to swerve), or impeded traffic flow by driving 10-15 mph slower than the speed limit. Most of you cell phone drivers are in your own little “KimZworld” and are obliviots (oblivious idiots).

Mike

October 13th, 2010
12:39 pm

Agree with Shaggy. Vote Libertarian. I do. They believe in LESS government. What a concept!!!!

Jimmy62

October 13th, 2010
1:29 pm

So no passengers, no radio, too. Those are distractions, too. You can’t tell me that I’m more distracted listening to someone on a hands free device than I am talking to a passenger.

Ezra

October 13th, 2010
1:33 pm

Lets go ahead and ban everything and make government a big tyrant! You sympathy law people are disgusting. Aides killed people but you do not want to ban sex do you? You sympathy law people! Why dont you just stay in your homes and let someone deliver everything to you. Sympathy law makers take more freedoms from us than any tyrant.

Lady Liberty

October 13th, 2010
1:39 pm

I picture Shaggy as a short fat bald man riding around in a 2001 red Porche with a blue tooth…a carefully designed persona derived to over compensate for his small appendages. But he is a safe hands free driver.

Chuck

October 13th, 2010
1:40 pm

You can pass all the laws you want trying to prevent distractions, but the essential problem is recklessness and irresponsibility. Solution? Make sure people are punished for recklessness and make sure they are held responsible for their actions. If you’re texting while driving and kill someone, expect to pay the price.You should know better, moron.

Andy

October 13th, 2010
1:47 pm

Mr Barr, Would you allow government drivers who are drunk to drive? If the effect of talking on the cell phone is the same as drunk driving, why would you be against the ban on cell phone use while driving?

Andy

October 13th, 2010
1:49 pm

@Chuck, if I am dead because of someone who is texting while driving, I could care less about the punishment that person receives.

sonnyfab

October 13th, 2010
1:51 pm

It’s sad that so few people on here have any respect for the Constitution. What the document on which all laws in our country are supposed to be based says is “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” Nobody said that there cannot be laws regarding cellular phone use (or radio use or eating or anything else) while driving. However, Georgia should make laws that govern all automobile use in Georgia. Florida should make Florida laws. Nevada should make Nevada laws. There is NO REASON that the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT should be involved in this WHATSOEVER. Thank you for pointing this out, Bob. I hope one day we as a nation can take the 10th Amendment more seriously.

ND

October 13th, 2010
2:04 pm

As much as I hate seeing people going 20 mph below the flow of traffic while babbling on their cell phones, I hate unenforcable, arbitrarily applied laws even more. I use my phone’s built in GPS a lot more than I ever use it for talking; is that going to be banned too?

And for those of you who say that Bob Barr might see this issue differently if someone he knew was hit by a car driven by a cell phone user, think about it this way — even if you ban cell phones, you still have people eating, fixing their hair, applying makeup, etc. while driving which are all just as dangerous and distracting. Are you going to come up with laws for those too? And how the hell are cops supposed to enforce these laws?

Ezra

October 13th, 2010
2:04 pm

I read an article where a guy was cutting the grass around a day care facility and he backed up only to strike a child with the lawn mower. The manufacturer of the lawn mower got sued and lost. Now how did that happen? Well lets sue the cell phone companies for every accident that occurs while using one of their phones. Lets make cell phones so expensive that only responsible adults can afford to use them.

Just hang up

October 13th, 2010
2:43 pm

“…this is the latest example of intrusion by the federal government into an issue that should solely be left to states to decide”
UGH. You understand that we can freely drive through other states, right? Will I have to now do extra research to find out all the various laws that I would have to abide by for each state’s drivers, or will each state put huge investment in informational signs for their special laws at all borders? Sometimes standardization is a good thing.

Jefferson

October 13th, 2010
3:32 pm

There is no difference driving drunk vs driving while talking on a phone or texting. Studies prove it. Why not legalize both ?

Sick&Tired

October 13th, 2010
3:33 pm

If a ban on cell-phones while driving will keep those idiots in their lanes; I will support the ban 100%. My commute is bad enough, without having to avoid idiots on cell phones daily.

It shouldn’t take a ban from the government to get people off cell phones while driving; common sense should be enough, but that’s not always the case.

Michael

October 13th, 2010
3:38 pm

I think the point to all this is that… If there is already a law against driving recklessly, why make another one? When you drive a car you need to be responsible for your actions and if you hurt someone and are at fault you pay the price. I rear ended a car changing the CD player, but i could have just as easily sneezed or looked away. I was at fault and paid the cost to fix it. We don’t need all these specific laws banning one thing or another. It is redundant! It is another ticket that the police can give you to take your money!