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NTSB Wants To Ban Talking While Driving, Even With Hands-Free Devices

By Ian Bush and Jim Melwert

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Forget texting while driving.  The National Transportation Safety Board wants states to ban talking while you’re behind the wheel, as well — except in emergencies.

Handheld or hands-free, it doesn’t matter, says the NTSB, because driving is taking a backseat to voice and text conversations.

The ban would cover all portable electronic devices, and goes well beyond any regulations on the books. Lead mobile analyst Sascha Segan with says it goes beyond what’s practical, too:

“You need to take driving seriously. But that doesn’t mean that the only thing you can do is stare at the road, silently gripping the wheel, talking to no one.”

Now, Segan calls texting while driving “hideously dangerous.”  In fact, this push by the NTSB comes in connection with a horrible deadly crash last year in Missouri with a TWD teen. Banning talking would be even tougher to enforce.

“And doesn’t get to the heart of the problem which is really these activities that take your eyes off the road.”

Drivers in Pennsauken like the no-text ban already on the books, though they say it could probably be better enforced.  But they say, they don’t see the point of banning hands-free devices.

“It’s ridiculous, if you don’t have the phone in your hands and you’re driving, can’t you talk while you’re driving?”

“I think it’s going to far, because, you know with a Bluetooth, you don’t have anything in your hands so I think it’s going too far.”

“Yeah, I think it’s really ridiculous that they doin’ that.  Really ridiculous.”

One person did say he likes the idea of a hands-free ban, saying with many headsets or Bluetooth devices, people still have to look down to dial.

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  • ba hamilton

    So we can’t even use google maps or google navigator when we drive now? What about our garmin devices. Are those going to be banned also. What about car radios. When will it stop.

  • Laura

    I have no problem with this. I am so tired of people driving and not paying attention. Everytime I see someone run a light or stop sign, they are always on their phone. Face it – if you are talking to someone else, you are not paying 100% attention to your driving. I see no difference between this and drunk driving. It comes down to paying attention to what you are doing when you are driving so no one is seriously hurt or killed..


    I don’t agree with the hands-free inclusion. In most new cars, through voice command or with the touch of one button on you steering wheel, you can make and receive calls. To say that talking is a distraction would mean that we should ban drivers from having discussions with passengers as well. Oh, and how about the distraction of changing a radio station or adjusting climate control. That can be a distraction. I guess we should ban that too.
    Bottom line – texting and hand-held calls should be banned. Leave the hands-free alone.

  • Darisha K. Miller

    Why does it take Pennsylvania lawmakers a long time to enforce a law that will save lives? I heard this report this morning and immediately it made me think about how I would be more alert, and pay close attention while I’m driving. I didn’t realize how much I use the phone, text, and read emails in my car. I’m going to be a responsible driver because I don’t want to endanger and child, pedestrian or motorists with my irresponsible behavior.

    • Fred

      If you have EVER sent a text while driving – you will NEVER be a “responsible” driver …

      • j jubb

        I agree w/you Fred. Darisha openly admits to breaking the law in her initial comment, but now feels justification is in order because PA lawmakers (in her mind) take too long to enforce an issue that is more than a decade old. Pg53 of the PA drivers manual (under alertness) clearly states “when using a cellular phone it is recommended for safety purposes that you pull to the side of the road to make or receive any calls”. But because this is RECOMMENDED, some people can’t use common sense judgement until told otherwise. So Darish, DON’T PLAY WITH YOUR PHONE WHILE DRIVING, KEEP YOUR EYES ON THE ROAD, AND DON’T EXPECT A PAT ON THE BACK BECAUSE YOUR CARELESSNESS HASN’T KILLED SOMEONE….

      • Grady

        Blow me Fred…….I’m sure you NEVER have???

  • Larry Steller

    Making any law that you cannot enforce is stupid. Making a current law that you do not and cannot enforce more stringent is the height of stupidity. The law must be enforceable. Such as, being involved in an accident while using your phone will make you guilty of careless driving. Being found to have caused an accident while using your phone and you will be charged with careless and reckless driving.

  • David S.

    Banning all portable devices while driving is neither feasible nor enforceable. What will have to happen is the use of technology that switches cellphones to a speech-to-text and text-to-speech mode and disables manual texting while in a moving vehicle. In other words, the government would have to require manufacturers of cellphones and cars to provide this technology or something like it.

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