It looks as though we may see national legislation dealing with the use of cell phones while driving this coming year. It’ll probably be tucked into one of the highway bills that will be passed later in the year. This is the speculation coming from the National Safety Council. They have been pushing for cell phone bans while driving much more adamantly.
They are actually looking for a total ban on cell phone use. This includes those using a handheld or even the hands free cell phones. They are basing their recommendations on some of the research that they have been reviewing. They are citing a study by the Harvard Center for risk analysis that says about 6% of accidents can be associated with cell phone use.
With over 270 million mobile phone users, including unlocked cell phones, in the US, it is safe to say that probably over 80% of them use their phones while driving. I do not think that some of these statistics are out of line, but I think that may be the extent of the recommendations of banning cell phone use even if you use a hands-free device such as the Bluetooth headset, is harsh. If we begin to think about how many things we do in the car besides talking on the phone, we may even see legislation banning listening to the radio or talking to somebody in the passenger seat. All of these things can also be very distracting. I certainly agree that texting while you drive is a set up for an accident. I also think that holding the phone while you’re driving is also distracting. But I do know that a hands-free device that allows you to control your calls through voice activation is as safe as changing your radio station.
I am sure that the ban will not include hands-free use, but we should all try to stay on top of the news and to make sure we let our opinions heard. We certainly do not want accidents to be attributed cell phone use, and most certainly are new drivers should not engage in anything that would distract them from properly and safely, learning how to drive. Many of our states have already implemented some form of cell phone ban and the rest of the country will probably soon follow suit. Make sure that you have your Bluetooth or other hands-free devices now before many of the bans are in place.