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The Law Blogger is a law-related blog that informs and discusses current matters of legal interest to readers of The Oakland Press and to consumers of legal services in the community. We hope readers will  find it entertaining but also informative. The Law Blogger does not, however, impart legal advice, as only attorneys are licensed to provide legal counsel.
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Friday, January 6, 2012

Federal Government Calls for Total Ban on Distracted Driving

Unanimously, the 5 members of the National Transportation and Safety Board called for all states to impose a complete ban on texting, emails, and even cell phone use (hand held or hands free) while operating a vehicle.  The NTSB's little-noted but highly significant recommendation came out before the holidays last month in the wake of a series of deadly car crashes involving distracted drivers.

In one of the crashes, a Missouri teenager caused a death accident after texting 11 times in as many minutes.  There seems to be a correlation between youth and distracted driving which is compounded by the youth's relative inexperience on the road.

Now the question is whether the state legislatures have the political will to outlaw what has become ingrained behavior for most driving Americans.  Even if distracted driving is banned, there is also a question of enforcement.

With all the OEMs producing vehicles outfitted with navigation systems and sophisticated communication software built right into the car, state legislatures will soon have lunch dates with automotive industry lobbyists; for sure.  And then there is the cell phone industry; not likely to stand on the sidelines and watch this type of prohibitive legislation develop.

Here is the legislative breakdown so far, with new laws appearing on the books every year: 35 states and the District of Columbia have banned texting while driving; 30 states have banned all cell phone use by a beginning driver; 9 states have banned hand-held cell phone use while in a car.

The NTSB's firm position is simply that use of electronic communication devices is too dangerous to be allowed anywhere in the United States.  When the NTSB announced the recommended ban early last December, it chairwoman, Deborah Hersman, said, "We're not here to win a popularity contest.  No email, no text, no update, no call is worth a human life."

You got that right sister; you sure got that right.  We will be monitoring the state legislation on this topic and will report back to you with significant developments.

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1 Comments:

Anonymous Car Dealers Minneapolis said...

I think all distracting behaviors are dangerous; eating, even bluetooth, looking in the mirror etc. Nothing can be enforced one hundred percent; however laws are a deterrent.

January 9, 2012 at 8:46 AM 

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