December 14, 2011
OVER IN POPULAR MECHANICS, I explain why the NTSB’s effort to ban even hands-free cellphones in cars is wrong.
UPDATE: Reader Bill Rickords emails:
Glenn, I have been a safety and health engineer for 25 yrs. The stuff they are putting out is conflating all these “distractions” onto the cell phone. Its nonsense.
The number one distraction noted in incidents is the mere fact of there being a second person in the car. Talking, fighting, loving etc.
The phone issue used to rank not even in the top 5 things being done. Eating, talking to 2nd person, looking in mirror, putting on make-up, reading etc. were all higher.
They don’t talk of the lives saved with cell phones in helping people. Also they try to teach you to PULL OVER on the side of the road…NO, NO, do not do that…that is even more dangerous. Can you imagine all these old folks and young kids pulling on and off an interstate in front of 80 mph trucks etc….complete incompetence to do that or even recommend it.
My sister was hit head-on by a teenage girl who was applying makeup while driving. My sister was in a Suburban, and pretty much unhurt. (The girl, alas, was hurt pretty badly though I think she recovered fully). It’s about common sense, which seems to be lacking in the NTSB report.
UPDATE: Reader John Rhoades emails:
If I can operate a 250-million dollar Boeing 777 and talk to ATC (air traffic control)…or my Captain…or the FedEx Global Operations Center…or the station we’re about to arrive at…at the same time, without catastrophic consequences, I think driving and talking, or chewing gum and walking or whatever, is something the NTSB can relax about. I swear, I think Mayor Bloomberg’s nannyism has infected the entire government. Sheesh.
P.S. I could fly an A-10, talk to my wingmen, talk to the ground commander, talk to the FAC on the ground, plan an attack, execute it and survive all while blabbing on the radio with a “hands-off” mic (commonly known as a flight helmet) and never, even once, turn into a helpless lump. Feh.
MORE: Reader Penny Bonnar writes:
If the NTSB wants to ban something, they can prohibit semis from passing cars on interstates when it’s snowing or during heavy rainstorm. It’s pretty terrifying to have those big trucks go barreling by, blinding the drivers they pass. I am talking complete white-out when it’s snowing. Rainstorms are just as bad.
And another thing, the radio in my car is not very good, so I use my phone to stream the stations I want to listen to. Can’t do that with it stuck in the glovebox.
The idiots are in charge.