FACTOID ALERT: Distracted Driving Too Broad A Term

Posted on February 17, 2010 by LCT Staff - Also by this author - About the author

With the New York Taxi and Limousine Commission having donned the outfit of one big road nanny with its hyper-regulations of for-hire driver use of cell phones, the spectacle of a never-ending list of rules to nibble away at motorist mobility becomes more probable.

Few would quibble about texting and hand-held phones behind the wheel; clearly stupid and should be outlawed. But hands-free phones and electronic equipment? It’s time for a reality check.

We’re already hearing some whoppers in the name of safety; such as talking on cell phones has led to a spike in motorist deaths and hands-free use of phones is just as hazardous as manual use of cell phones behind the wheel. Neither is true, at least according to studies and statistics.

This year could likely bring sweeping federal legislation to regulate use of driver cell phones among the states; how severe these rules become depends on how well the decision makers know the facts, courtesy of those who actually deal with drivers on the road, such as the National Limousine Association and transportation industry interest groups.

Last week, we brought forward evidence that hands-free phoning clearly IS NOT NEARLY as hazardous as holding the phone with one hand and maneuvering a steering wheel with the other.

Some points and facts to help inform the debate are available in this article about DRIVING WHILE DISTRACTED.

You have to wonder where the “Distracted Driving” crusade will end: No smoking in vehicles? No loud music, or any music at all? No manually operated stereo dials and buttons? Bans on GPS navigation or satellite radio screens on the dashboard? No toddlers who have meltdowns? No eating? No sipping from a bottle of water? No chatty mothers-in-law? After all, each has contributed to accidents, and certainly qualify as driving distractions.

The capacity for government regulation under the broad banner of “Distracted Driving” could be endless. It’s time Americans start asserting they can drive with both hands AND talk, at the same time.

Now, about that gum chewing behind the wheel. . . .

— Martin Romjue, LCT Magazine

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