COMMENTARY | The National Transportation Safety Board is calling upon all states to invoke a nationwide ban on cell phone use while driving. This recommendation was sparked by recent deadly vehicle accidents where cell phone records indicated that drivers involved were sending or receiving messages at or near the time of the crashes. Banning cell phones while driving is intended to keep drivers safe by eliminating the distraction. Eliminating the use of portable electronic devices however, will not get rid of all possible distractions.
It has been argued that even talking on the cell phone through a hands-free device is distracting to the driver, pointing out the fact that some accidents involved drivers using hands-free devices. The NTSB’s recommendations include banning cell phone use even with hands-free devices.
Cell phone manufacturers are being urged by the NTSB to create features which would limit the ability to use the devices while a vehicle was in motion. Researchers have already been working on similar deactivation features but they are still a little ways off from being perfected. This may be a good method of preventing the driver from using their cell phones, but it does not necessarily take into consideration the fact that there are many instances where a driver would have need of their device while the vehicle is still moving.
Banning cell phones altogether seems to be a call of judgment that might be a bit too soon in the making. In today’s modern age of instant communication, parents often need to contact their children or vice versa. If the parent is unavailable during their daily commute, they could miss making a critical decision for their child. Many business people are on the road for hours in a day and if they are unable to be in contact with their home office or customers, it will make things far less efficient and cost more money in the long run to do business.
The intentions of the NTSB are good, but the call for the banning cell phones completely should be reconsidered. People need to be able to make their own choices even when it comes to the safety of those around them. If the governments continue to dictate what is safe and not safe for the people, what choices do the people have left?