I'm pretty damn conscientious about only using my phone with a hands-free device when driving, and have been since before it became law in Washington state. Having driven stick-shift for years, I'm used to holding the wheel with one hand, but I've read the studies, and there's no question regarding the safety hazards. That said, I'm a little mixed on the recent National Transportation Safety Board's (NTSB) recommendations that use of cell phones while driving be banned entirely—with or without hands-free devices.
Again, I don't doubt the data on "distracted driving," but it's not like folks don't have conversations in cars without cell phones. And if you really want to talk about distractions, the NTSB should do something about all those people driving with screaming babies or quarrelsome children in their cars.
“No call, no text, no update, is worth a human life,” said NTSB Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman.
Really? If that were true, wouldn't we also halve the legal blood alcohol limit, or go to zero tolerance entirely? Because I'm damn sure there are many, many accidents caused by the diminished capabilities of drivers with a legal .07 percent. In fact, just getting behind the wheel of a car endangers both the driver and others. Maybe we should just ban driving while driving?
I don't mean to dis the NTSB recommendations entirely, but as a generally cautious and conscientious driver, I'd think we'd see more of a benefit from enforcing the laws we already have (like maybe, ticketing people for not using their turn signal while shifting lanes), than by launching into a long and controversial fight to ban cell phones.