• Dec 20th 2010 at 1:31PM
  • 42
The U.S. Department of Transportation is looking into a full-on mobile phone ban for commercial drivers while behind the wheel as part of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood's initiative to curb distracted driving. According to Reuters, the move would further impact the four million drivers who are already forbidden from texting while driving.
Last year, driver inattention was cited as the prevailing factor for around nine percent of all large truck crashes in 2009. That number was down from 2008, but not low enough for LaHood or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. While the number of distracted big-rig crashes may have declined slightly last year, the number of fatal bus accidents actually increased from 20 in 2008 to 38 in 2009.

The National Transportation Safety Board reports that of all bus crashes, somewhere between six and thirteen percent can be attributed to a distracted driver. LaHood's proposal will have to endure a 60-day comment period before being finalized.

[Source: Reuters via MSNBC]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      What about emergencies? I might have to call NASA to report when a cosmic ray interferes with my Toyota.
      • 4 Years Ago
      No one should be allowed to drive while on the phone.....
        • 4 Years Ago
        Randy, my point of my obviously over-the-top suggestion list is to point out that we're completely ignoring the root cause of the problem and trying to band-aid the fact that the majority of Americans do not know how to drive, cell phone or not.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @ porsche911gt3r


        Talking to your passengers or listening to the radio is just as dangerous as having a phone up to your head? Leaving one hand left to pilot the vehicle and also possibly block your peripheral vision with your arm is just as dangerous?

        I hope that you are kidding about that.

        I do agree 100% that we need better driver education in this country. On a scale of 1-10 I would rate America's current system at about a 2 or 3.
        • 4 Years Ago
        What about talking to passengers? Listening to the radio? Getting directions from your GPS? All of these are distractions

        Where does it stop? Instead of Government intervention into these devices, let's get down to the root cause; Driving standards. We let anyone with a pulse on the roads. If you want to make a meaningful impact on driver safety, start with drivers education and increase standards across the nation at DMV's.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Thank you porsche! At least I'm not the only one who feels this way. If you can't hold a conversation and drive you should never be handed keys.
        • 4 Years Ago
        It stops at the crossroads of practicality and utility. Some of those distractions could be dealt with practically, and where they can be, they should be. That includes installing cell-blocking devices in cars that prevent all in-coming and outgoing calls except for 911 calls. It would be easy to do, and it should be done. As for radios and GPS, I believe there have been studies that have shown they don't distract to a great degree (with regards to GPSs, certainly not as much as trying to follow a map or written instructions would), and not nearly as much as phone use. Eating or talking with passengers is another issue, but there's no practical way to prevent that.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I have a list of additional things I'd like to see banned to make the roads safer:

        -Passengers (especially kids) - All cars should just be one-seaters, then there is no possibility for communication

        -Radios - Lets face it, singing is a major distraction.

        -Windows that roll down - putting an arm out the window takes a hand off the wheel

        -Manual transmissions - if you have one arm out the window while you shift then you have no hands on the wheel. Plus operating the clutch means on less foot to brake with.

        -Tachometers - if you're not shifting then its just one more distraction

        -All buttons - quit whining about how hot or cold it is and keep 'em at 10 and 2!

        I might also recommended a loud, constant, monotone beeping sound to prevent drivers from dosing off. Maybe we should just ban drivers all together and go Google-automated (if you agree with that proposition why are you on an auto-enthusiast site). Or, you know, we could just require better driver's education....
        • 4 Years Ago
        It has been proven over and over again that cell phones are a bigger distraction then any of the other things you mentioned. If people would just drive and not have to talk or text, doing the correct thing, the government wouldn't need to make laws against it. It's not fair for that family coming home from Walmart that get T-boned by someone who was more interested in their phone conversation then driving their car/truck/SUV.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Lemon, now your just being an ass. We need to take away reasonable temptations from drivers, IE cell phones. Passengers will always be there, some states even limit the number og people under 18 allowed in a car if the driver is under 18. The rest is just you being a Anti-Government moron exaggerating things to trying to make no point what so ever other then making yourself look stupid. If people did the right things the Government would have to make the rules they do.
      • 4 Years Ago
      In my book, anyone on a cellphone while driving is an a$$wipe.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Distracted driving could be caused by a whole variety of things from eating tacos to putting on make-up. I think the real issue here is drivers not paying attention to the road. Regardless of how many things you ban drivers from doing, there will always be ways for people to become distracted. What about changing out a CD? What about CB radio chatter? What about being sleepy? Is Lahood going to push for an initiative to have all commercial drives jacked up on caffeine pills? It might make for less drowsy drivers!
      • 4 Years Ago
      i think phones etc should be banned from use by ALL drivers in ALL moving vehicles, Bluetooth or not. My Saab was totalled 7 years ago by a driver on a cellphone and I was hit on my bicycle last summer by a driver using a hands-free phone, but still using a phone. She didn't even see me and I ride a bright red mountain bike and had on a tie-dye T shirt. She was so involved in her conversation, she just pulled right out of a parking lot hitting me broadside. I still can't use all of my fingers, and I lost a couple of teeth, but I guess it could be worse.
      • 4 Years Ago
      hallelujah!!! ban them ALL!!
      • 4 Years Ago
      @duke, lemon & Porsche, Bingo, you are all so right.
      I have a better idea, how's about we ban LaHoodlum and the rest of the Obameteurs in this administration.
      • 4 Years Ago

      I am 100% serious. I admit to driving while on the phone. The difference between myself and others is that I drive defensively and leave a lot of room. It seems like everyone is in a hurry and tailgates.

      Let’s call a spade a spade….What’s the difference between looking forward and speaking on a cell phone vs. looking forward and speaking to your passenger? And before you reply again with the hand off the wheel comment…How many people do you see driving at 10 and 2?

      The real issue is dialing and texting since that requires you to take your eye off the road. Technologies like Ford’s Sync and integrated Bluetooth systems do alleviate the dialing issue.

      Again, the root cause is driving standards and education.
        • 4 Years Ago
        The difference between talking to a passenger and talking on the phone is that the phone can't warn you of an impending accident.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Two hands is always better than one. It doesn't matter what their placement is, there is still two hands AVAILABLE at all times.

        I am also not constantly making eye contact with my passengers, I am actually looking where I am going. Driving and not making eye contact is socially acceptable, not so much when you are sitting at a table.

        I do agree about driver education...
      • 4 Years Ago
      Good luck with the ban, LaHood....

      Not that it's going to help out much when the same truck and bus drivers completely disregard the ban, and the police are too apathetic to do something about it.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Wasn't there just an article that said how safe the roads were over the past year? SOMETHING will always be that 6-13%, and if we keep creating laws to fight it, soon we will all be forced to stay home and collect welfare....which many in DC would love to see.

      My Dad has been an owner-operator truck driver for 40+ years. How could he plan tomorrow if he can't talk on the road?? He had a phone in his truck before most of you were alive, why should he pay for all the other idiots out there?
      • 4 Years Ago
      Agreed! We haven't let our drivers talk and drive for the past 3 years.... Should have been longer IMO... Actually NO ONE that uses a company phone or is driving a company owned vehicle is allowed to talk on the phone unless on a 4 lane divided highway, outside city limits and MUST be using a hands free device.

      • 4 Years Ago
      This is a perfect example of government gone off the cliff. There is already laws and mechanisms to deal with careless drivers.
      You cannot legislate human behavior, and cannot possibly hope to eliminate distractions.
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