Phones pose risk when driving
Daily Herald editorial
The National Transportation Safety Board believes that no motor vehicle drivers should be using a cell phone while in motion. It’s a position with which it is increasingly hard to disagree given the mounting evidence that distraction is a significant cause of accidents.
In keeping with their mandate, the NTSB’s members often seem to think first about safety and second about practicalities. And make no mistake, there are some big issues of practicality that would prevent implementing an in-vehicle cell phone ban, not least among them the fact that most people don’t like the idea of being separated from the joys of cell phone conversation under any circumstances — and many of those people vote. Money is also a factor, because some unknown, but probably large, chunk of cell phone providers’ revenues come from in-vehicle cell phone use. There will be powerful forces arrayed against the idea of a cell phone ban for drivers.
None of that changes the realities of the matter, which is that many accidents and exponentially more close calls occur because drivers are looking at tiny keyboards, concentrating on phone calls or otherwise focusing on phones instead of the job at hand. As highways become increasingly crowded (driven in the Twin Cities lately?) the risks of distraction grow more extreme.
The NTSB is on target in citing cell phones as a major risk factor when used improperly, such as by anyone driving a car or truck. Unfortunately, it’s an idea that is not likely to get much traction.