NTSB Recommends Ban on ALL Handheld Devices!

The following was recently reported by M. Alex Johnson of MSNBC:
The government’s transportation safety experts recommended to ban all American drivers from using portable electronic devices — including cellphones, even if you use a hands-free device.
The recommendation makes only two exceptions:
  • You could still use GPS navigation devices, and
  •  you could use your cellphone in an emergency.
“No call, no text, no update, is worth a human life,” Deborah Hersman, chairwoman of the National Transportation Safety Board, said at a news conference in Washington.
Besides calling for government action, the NTSB also urged consumer electronics manufacturers to figure out a way to “disable the functions of portable electronic devices within reach of the driver when a vehicle is in motion” while at the same time being able to turn themselves back on in an emergency.
MSNBC took a poll “Should the US ban handheld devices for drivers?”
Yes: No call or text is worth a person’s life: 35%

No: Hands-free technology can make them safe to use: 49%

Maybe: A limited ban on some handheld uses may be the best course: 16%
The focus should be on drivers’ choices, not on “specific devices.” Of course, manual texting while driving shouldn’t be allowed to do it, but the safety board’s suggestion to disallow hands-free devices like Bluetooth earpieces is too strict.
The NHTSA reported  that about 20 percent of all drivers and 50 percent of drivers 21 to 24 years old admit to having texted while driving. Overall, more than three-quarters of drivers say they are willing to answer calls on all, most or some trips.
“People continue to make bad decisions about driving distracted — but what’s clear from all of the information we have is that driver distraction continues to be a major problem,” NHTSA Administrator David Strickland said last week in reporting the numbers.
But similar studies linking cellphone use to poor driving have been challenged, most recently by researchers at Wayne State University in Detroit, who concluded last month that some earlier studies were seriously flawed.
The report, published in the journal Epidemiology, examined to earlier studies that examined crashes in which cellphone records showed that the driver had used a cellphone. Those studies “likely overestimated the relative risk for cellphone conversations,” the researchers said, because they improperly assumed that the drivers were actually in motion when they were on the phone — in other words, they didn’t factor in such so-called part-time driving.
Only 10 states ban handheld devices right now, and 35 ban texting while driving.The recommendation comes following the NTSB’s investigation of an August 2010 accident in Gray Summit, Mo., involving a pickup truck, two school buses and several other vehicles.
The NTSB recommendation wouldn’t cover GPS devices, but — if it eventually becomes law — it would ban using your phone for any reason, even with a Bluetooth headset or speakers. The only exception would be to call 911 in an emergency.

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