Thursday, December 15, 2011

Hands-free phones no better

The NTSB's new recommendation to ban all cellphone use in cars is based in part on research showing that hands-free technology doesn't reduce the risk. This has been known for a long time. I've been talking about it for ten years. Politicians who have enacted hands-free-only laws are more interested in re-election than public safety.
    When someone is talking to you, your brain is listening, processing and thinking about what's being said — even if you're in the driver's seat trying to concentrate on traffic.

    That's why drivers get distracted during cellphone conversations, even when using hands-free phones, researchers say. It's also part of the reason why the National Transportation Safety Board made a recommendation this week it knows a lot of drivers won't like — that states ban hands-free, as well as hand-held, cellphone use while driving.

    It's not where your hands are, but where your mind is that counts, NTSB chairman Deborah Hersman told reporters.
What I find really troubling in the laws about phone use in cars is that it's not a problem compared to the lack of driving skill. Any fool can pass a driver's test, and it shouldn't be that way. Also, banning 16-year-olds and the over-70 crowd from driving would save a lot of lives.

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