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The Nanny State Again

The NTSB recommends banning cell phone use in cars. Even hands free. This is at least keeping with research that shows hands free doesn’t matter for safety. I’m wondering whether banning passengers is next. Our state recently passed a ban that only covers texting, but interestingly enough it probably also has the unintended consequence of banning Apple’s Siri technology. This is really something politicians should just but their noses out of. There’s lots of potentially dangerous distractions in automobiles, and what problems technology can create, technology can fix.

12 Responses to “The Nanny State Again”

  1. David says:

    No no no, next is banning private vehicles and forcing everyone onto the rolling cell blocks that public buses and trains have become.

  2. Arnie says:

    Amen! I am tired of government restricting me because of the irresponsible actions of others -whether it’s guns, cell phones, or fast foods.

    Prosecute the immediate offenders, but don’t persecute the rest of us who haven’t caused an accident.

    It’s all the same motive: social engineering by an arrogant elite.

  3. GMC70 says:

    The real problem, of course, is that cell phone use is so ubiquitous (hope that’s spelled right!) and so much a part of the culture that what they’re really doing is creating a law that will be routinely ignored. And since it’s not particularly enforceable, ignored with impunity.

    And a law that is widely ignored, with impunity, is worse than no law at all. Yes, even if it saves “just one life.”

  4. Harry Schell says:

    Ignored in this is that I understand the kid was rear-ended by a school bus, which was in turn rear-ended by a following school bus. had the drivers of the buses been alert and left themselves proper space between the pickup and the other bus, they could have stopped, preventing one fatality and the vast majority of injuries. Where is NTSB calling for school bus drivers to adhere to basic safety rules? Those drivers were not texting and their negligence caused most of the harm. What is the goal here?

    • Jake says:

      Plus, they ignore the fact that this incident shows specifically that the law doesn’t work – the driver was 19, so it was already illegal for him to be texting while driving.

      (From the article: “The driver of the pickup truck was 19 years old, and was in violation of a Missouri law prohibiting drivers under the age of 21 from texting while driving.”)

      Why do they think a blanket ban would change anything?

  5. PhilaBOR says:

    Do cell phone bans work? Don’t recall where I read this, but it said bans only drive texting below the dashboard so they won’t get caught. And where their eyes are much farther from the road and accidents get worse.

    How are those bans on drugs working out?

  6. mobo says:

    If insurance companies were free to refuse payment in accidents where cell phone usage is shown to be the cause, then there would be no excuse for these laws to exist in the first place.

  7. Wes says:

    The really strange part of this is built-in devices would be exempted. What’s new… the government loves GM and Onstar, I guess.

  8. Arnie says:

    Jake: THANK YOU for reporting on the law already banning 19-year-olds from texting while driving! That’s most revealing!!! Like gun laws, cell phone bans obviously don’t work.

  9. Andy B. says:

    Speaking of insurance companies: Shouldn’t they be able to tell us if automobile accidents increased in proportion to cell phone use and texting over the years, and if so, by how much?

    I admit that from simple observation of people in cars, it looks like a problem to me, but perhaps all of this real and proposed legislation is chasing a problem that doesn’t really amount to much. We gun owners are familiar with that phenomenon — like all of the states that are hysterical over the issue of allowing guns in bars. It sounds bad until you see that it doesn’t make any difference.

  10. NUGUN Blog says:

    Interesting to note that accidents and deaths trends related to vehicles.

    I would argue that this report proves that the studies are wrong. That using a cell phone while driving has reduced accidents. You see, when you use a cell phone and drive you often slow down. And the proof is in the pudding. The more ubiquitous cell phones become, the greater the reduction in accident deaths.

    (Sadly, I can’t find a report on mere accidents. So fender benders may be up.)
    http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/811291.PDF

  11. Chas says:

    They’re more like the NSTSB – Nanny State Transportation Safety Board.

    It’s a mission problem. Create a board whose only mission is safety and they’ll eventually have us all locked up in safety capsules.
    Their mission should be defined as safety and freedom, since that would be more consistent with the American philosophy of life. They should be required to balance the two, which would be much preferable to the lop-sided approach that they now have. The freedom hater fringe wouldn’t like it at all, but the rest of us would.

    The NTSB was formed April 1, 1967, but the hipster days of the summer of love are long gone, and it’s time for them to have a more adult mission than a narrow-minded and obsessive preoccupation with safety accompanied by a paranoid aversion to risk, to the exclusion of everything else that people want for themselves. Talking on a hands free cell phone is no more distracting than planning dinner in one’s mind, or talking to a passenger, or having had a bad day at work. Perhaps our nanny state, would-be babysitters could support a ban on bad days at work too.

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