No Cell Phones… Period!

13

Dec

No Cell Phones… Period!

source: http://m.apnews.com/ap/db_16026/contentdetail.htm?contentguid=06ysAYceAn article on AP News states:

Texting, emailing or chatting on a cellphone while driving is simply too dangerous to be allowed, federal safety investigators declared Tuesday, urging all states to impose total bans except for emergencies.

The recommendation goes so far as to make it illegal even to use a hands free device.  I’m doubtful that such a federal law will ever come to be in the US, but this is the first I’ve ever read of federal investigators even making the suggestion.  I’ve experienced plenty of close calls while biking and truly believe a large percentage of them could have been avoided if drivers were more alert.  It’s WAY too easy to be distracted while driving these days: cell phones, mp3 players, DVD players, navigation devices… the list just goes on.

The picture included with this post depicts

a rescue worker at the scene of an accident involving two school buses, a tractor-trailer and another passenger vehicle, near Gray Summit, Mo. Federal safety investigators say a 19-year-old driver was texting at the time his pickup truck, two school buses and other vehicles collided in a deadly pileup on an interstate highway in Missouri last year.

While it is great to see attention paid to this issue at a federal level, it would be even better to see enforcement of existing laws and stricter penalties for people who cause accidents through distracted driving.  If you prefer to have your news read to you, I also found some ABC coverage on the same topic
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Here at RIBike, we are working behind the scenes to introduce our vulnerable roadway user legislation for the third straight session.  Each attempt, it seems to be building support in the legislature, but we could use even more help.  If you have experience with legislation or have an interest in seeing what legislative work is all about, come to one of our monthly meetings and learn how you too can make a difference!

5 thoughts on - No Cell Phones… Period!

  • Dec 13, 2011 at 5:48 pm

    ABC has an article about this same report. The cite some 600,000 crashes and 3,000 deaths a year cause by distracted driving. Does anyone else get annoyed by the fact that our society doesn't seem to have a problem with this? Why aren't we up in arms over needless deaths like these?

  • barry
    Dec 14, 2011 at 6:14 am

    I hope RIBike and all groups concerned with road safety and "complete streets" will back a RI law to prohibit cell-phonwe use while driving. That will be easier to enforce than the no-texting law we already have since it is not always so apparent whether or not a cell phone user is texting. The cell phone industry of course has opposed such a ban but a broad coalition, with Federal safety officials helping, can overcome that.

  • Eric
    Dec 14, 2011 at 8:14 am

    What other groups in RI might work with us to support this? Let's develop a list and reach out to them. AARP? MADD? Motorcyclists, for sure, if they're organized. Any others come to mind?

  • Dec 14, 2011 at 10:32 am

    I would hope the various police groups (RI State Police and local departments of the larger cities) would be willing to get on board with this. It's a political nightmare for legislators to jump on board, because their constituents are going to put up a HUGE fuss if this ever comes to light, but I would think police would have no problem supporting it.

    I try to approach every situation with some realism. What would I like to see come of this? A national hands free law, requiring that people can't be holding, texting, etc. phones while driving. I think it's unlikely a complete ban will ever pass, just too many people are totally addicted to them. Plus, how do you deal with situations where the music source for the car and navigational aid for the car is also someone's phone? I fall into this category. Does this mean I can't listen to music while driving? Does it mean I can't have my phone displaying maps while driving? It gets into a bit of grey area.

    More important than this though, I'd like to see a big push for enforcement of the laws and stiff fines. Why do people, who clearly know they are breaking the law by texting or talking hands-on in a state where it is outlawed, continue to do so? Because they are either not charged or the charges are such a light slap on the wrist that it's just a cost of doing business. If, however, there were stiff fines, loss of license, and potential jail time for being an irresponsible/distracted driver and people started being charged in this way, then actions would change.

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