Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Gov. Should Disable Cell Phones In Cars
An example of this is when teen drivers are asked what should happen to drunk drivers. The vast majority says the law should penalize drunk drivers very severely. However, these same teens don't think the law should ban texting while driving. Most of them seem convinced that they can do it safely. This is in spite of the fact that several studies have shown cell phone use while driving is as dangerous as drunk driving (and texting is even worse).
The U.S. Secretary of Transportation, Raymond LaHood, says that cell phone distracted drivers killed about 5,500 people last year. In addition, about a half-million people were injured. Those are minimum figures. Paul Atchley, a scientist at the University of Kansas who has studied the phenomenon, believes the actual figures are probably much higher.
The sad part is that all of these deaths and injuries can be prevented. If people would just stay off their cell phones and pay attention to their driving these needless deaths and injuries would not happen.
I know there are many people who think they must use their phones while driving. They will tell us that their fast-paced life demands it, or their business demands it. Nonsense. Life went on and business got done before cell phones were invented, and it would if they weren't used while a person is driving.
Some states have outlawed hand-held cell phones while driving. This makes it look like something is being done about the problem when nothing is actually being accomplished. The danger from using a cell phone while driving is from the distraction it causes the driver -- not from the phone being held in a hand or not.
I have often thought something should be done technologically to stop cell phone driving. Now it looks like the government is considering the same thing. LaHood says the government is considering requiring cars to have a technology that would disable cell phones. The cell phone would be disabled when the car reaches a certain speed (possibly as measured by cell phone towers).
I think this is an excellent idea. This would still allow cell phone use in an emergency by just pulling over to the side of the road, but would prevent use while the car is moving. I know there will be efforts to defeat this by some tech geeks, but I still think it is an idea worth trying.
Just remember, the life that is saved could be someone you love.