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DOT Researches Possible Ban on Cell Phones While Driving

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has done something that's really rare in Washington DC: He's taken a bold position that he believes is the right thing to do, even though it's potentially very unpopular.

Nations that Ban Cell 

Phone Use in Cars

Australia – Austria – Bahrain – Belgium – Brazil – Chile – China – Czech Republic – Denmark – Egypt – Finland – France – Germany – Greece – Hong Kong – Hungary – Ireland – Israel – Italy – Japan – Jordan – Kenya – Malaysia – Netherlands – Norway – Phillippines – Poland – Portugal – Romania – Russia – Singapore – Slovak Republic – Slovenia – South Africa – South Korea – Spain – Switzerland – Taiwan – Thailand – Turkmenistan – UK – Zimbabwe

Data from Cellular-news.com

LaHood believes that any use of cell phones while driving is a dangerous distraction to drivers, including Bluetooth and other hands-free devices. And he's directed the DOT’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to research all driver distractions as a possible foundation for requesting a national ban on cell phone use while driving.

At present, only five individual states ban cell phone use, although eighteen others have partial bans in effect.

LaHood calls the use of even hands-free phone conversations a “cognitive distraction,” taking the driver's attention and concentration away from the road.

Conversations with passengers are generally less distracting, according to
NYTimes technology reporter Matt Richtel
, because the passengers are in the car with the driver: they can see and even help monitor driving conditions. The
people on the other end of a phone conversation have no idea what's going on
outside the car and keep on talking, regardless of conditions.

“I don’t want people talking on phones, having them up to their ear or
texting while they’re driving,”
LaHood said in an early October interview with Bloomberg.com. “We need a lot better research on other distractions,” including Bluetooth-enabled hands-free calls and the in-car systems, he said. His concerns
also include the use of such vehicle information and entertainment systems such as Ford Motor Co.’s Sync and General Motors Co.’s OnStar.

If a nation-wide ban is passed, the USA will join 42 other nations with such a ban.

For more details and opposing viewpoints, read the entire Bloomberg.com article here.


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