U.S. Department of Transportation refuses to accept NTSB ban on smartphones in cars

NTSB calls for state ban on iPhones and other smartphones in cars

The U.S. Department of Transportation has refused to work with the National Transportation Safety Board's proposal to ban the use of the iPhone and other smartphones in cars.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said he won't back a proposal to prohibit drivers from talking on cellphones, even hands-free devices, giving a boost to car makers and mobile-phone companies that stand to lose if regulators impose a ban.

According to our cross-site Mobile Nations network poll, the majority of TiPb, Android Central, and CrackBerry.com readers there needed to be a middle ground on the issue. Given that most smartphones have the ability to run software designed to support driving tasks, like turn-by-turn navigation, this makes a lot of sense. Still, preventing drivers from performing distracting tasks like sending SMS messages or playing Angry Birds remains an issue.

Source: WSJ

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Andrew Wray

Andrew Wray is a Salt Lake City, Utah based writer who focuses on news, how-tos, and jailbreak. Andrew also enjoys running, spending time with his daughter, and jamming out on his guitar. He works in a management position for Unisys Technical Services, a subsidiary of Unisys Corporation.

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Reader comments

U.S. Department of Transportation refuses to accept NTSB ban on smartphones in cars


I use my smartphone most every day as a GPS seeing how I travel a lot however, this whole "talking on a cellphone while driving" is on my last nerve. Some people have the aptitude to drive and talk but most don't. I wished these things would come with some sort of chip that would disable any hands-on functions while going a certain speed. Yes, this would screw people who use mass transit and perhaps a workaround could be found for this.
We got by for hundreds of years without a cell phone. All of a sudden there's this outcry. There are days I wished these things were never invented.

How about convincing Apple and Google into setting up a "Drivers Mode", similar to Airplane Mode, only instead of disabling wireless interfaces, it could limit app use to driving aids like navigation apps, and limit basic phone use to handsfree/bluetooth headset options, and in phones like the iPhone 4S, maximise the use of voice control features like Siri.

there's also earphone/microphone for calling, there's also map/gps, there's also music, theres also siri
that ban is just plain stupid. maybe they want people to install computer in the car instead of phone for them to earn money in the name of safety

Banning the use of cell phones was radical. I can only hope that they proposed this to get the real thing they want, hands free required. I drive a truck for a living, and strict laws have already been in force for texting while driving a commercial vehcile. Its simple, if you get caught texting while driving it is a $2,700 fine, yes you read that right, its not a typo. starting the first of the year, commercial vehcile drivers are required to use a hands free device while driving, if not it is also a fine of $2,700 and could lead to jail time.
Now what I am saying, impose the same laws and penalities for cars and enforce them. Use a handset.
As I know some think handsets are just as bad, but having your hands free is a lot better then holding onto a phone
Using common sense is what people need here. First off, not everyone can handle talking on the phone and driving at the same time, nor can they handle doing anything else while driving. Just because you can do something doesn't mean you should. I cant fly a plane, so I dont. Know your limitations, if your one that cant multitask in a car while driving, then please dont. Another thing, just because the phone rings, it does not mean you have to answer the phone. Be aware of your surroundings, if in busy traffic, bad weather, put the phone down. And remember, driving is first.
Now cell phones are not the first distraction to drivers. I drive truck and I can see people when they pass me, people putting on make up while driving is true. I have seen people reading books, newspapers, legal pads on the steering wheel with 2 laptops opened up, and lets not forget holding the pop and burger going down the road.
Just impose and have hefty fines for texting and not using a handsfree will do wonders IMO..

Where does the automotive industries' responsibility apply to all this? They have the ability to add hands free systems to the cars they are building. They should be forced to make this a standard option in all vehicles.
How about the insurance industry? A reduction in premium
could be applied for having a hands free system in your vehicle.

Only problem with that is just because someone has a hands-free system doesnt mean they will use it. My mom bought me a solar powered bluetooth thing that mounts on my windshield since talking on the phone became illegal in my state, however it has been used a total of about 2 times...

Is funny, when I used to use my phone, I was a much more cautious driver. When I have two hands on the wheel and my full attention on the road, watch out, I will run you over. lol

A friend of mine who may not be the best driver in the world... (see below)
uses his netbook to watch movies while driving. :)

I hope they will ban cell phones while driving. As one who was seriously injured by a cell phone related accident when a driver rear ended me at 40mph I hope and pray they will ban their use on the road.

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