Today's automobiles are more connected than ever, and the National Transportation Safety Board doesn't seem to approve. The Detroit News reports that NTSB Chair Deborah Hersman is standing behind a recommendation to ban drivers from making hands-free phone calls that aren't of the emergency variety.

Hersman is battling automakers head-on when it comes to distracting technologies, and there are plenty of those technologies in today's vehicles. That includes hands-free calling made via Bluetooth, which has long been viewed as a safer alternative to grabbing a phone and calling someone the old-fashioned way. The proposed ban on hands-free calling reportedly doesn't include OnStar, which integrates calling directly through the vehicle. Hersman reportedly went as far as to suggest that automakers make their number one priority "safety, not sales."

While we think distracted driving is worth fighting, it's difficult to see where banning hands-free calling is the answer. And we're not alone. Even National Highway Traffic Safety Administrator Ray LaHood feels the NTSB recommendation goes too far. If automakers are forced to remove the tech from new vehicles, we're thinking many drivers will simply revert back to hand-held calling.

The NTSB thinks that hand-held and hands-free are equally dangerous, but it's difficult to argue that case, especially if integrated technology like OnStar is permitted. Once a phone is paired, what's the difference between pressing the hands-free button and pressing the OnStar button? We'd argue that having kids in the back seat is far more distracting than hands-free calling, and we don't see the NTSB calling for a 'no kids in the car' policy any time soon.


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 511 Comments
      Making11s
      • 2 Years Ago
      NTSB: Improve driver education, training and testing! You're lessening the symptoms instead of curing the disease.
        ufgrat
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Making11s
        You are being far too reasonable, you're obviously not dumb enough to drive a car. Please turn in your driver's license immediately.
      bader95
      • 2 Years Ago
      The bottom line is it's about distracted drivers that cause accidents because their focus is somewhere besides driving. If it's not important enough to pull off the road to talk, then it will wait. I've seen the same situations from drivers whether it'son a cell phone or a bluetooth.
      James
      • 2 Years Ago
      It amazes me, that I am 66 years old and do just fine without any mobile technology. No cell phone, no ipads, no iphones, absolutely nothing do I have. I still recreate and do just about everything everyone else does, without the bother of " buzz " polution in my life. I have one phone, its a land line that stays at my home. I do not run the chance of killing someone else because I am texting. Or getting killed myself for that same reason. I do get highly irritated at others who are not paying attention at traffic lights because they have a phone hanging off their ear when the light changes and they just sit there. I was going down to a near by supermarket one evening just before dark. The traffic light changed green for me, off the side road I was on. And on the main highway I was about to enter into, the light was red for that traffic, only luckily did I see a woman driving about 65 miles an hour, coming through her red light. She was to busy talking on her phone to notice. And had I not slammed on my brakes to avoid her. I would not have been here to tell this story.
      RMS
      • 2 Years Ago
      Put down the phones and drive!!!!! What is soooooo important that it can't wait a few minutes? There are enough bad drivers on already congested roads, we don't need to add distracted driving with cell phones (hands free or otherwise) into the mix. Now, if only the states that have cell phone laws would enforce them!
      FranJerr
      • 2 Years Ago
      I was tailgated by an inattenive driver on his cell and was afraid I was going to get hit. I slowed way down in a school zone and he came up behind me with no regard to the speed limit or me in front of him. Then at a light, in my rearview mirror, I noticed he wasn't even looking at the road or me, but at his phone. I made a quick left turn just to get away from the young man. If he hit someone, he'd have some excuse and get away with it. I was not only driving for myself, but for him too and became inattentive. It's very scary on the roads today.
      Debi
      • 2 Years Ago
      I have seen one too many persons....run red lights while talking or texting on their stupid cell phones. I have been on the interstate with a slow assed car in the left lane and have to pass on the right because the idiot won't move over..OH..its because THEY ARE TEXTING while driving. People. What do you think the world did before cell phones? Is a life really so important that you would risk killing someone or yourself b/c you are not paying attention and driving like you should. Drivers in this country already suck and finding themselves behind the wheel doing anything, be it reading a book, shaving or putting on makeup (seen all these too!)...its time to sit behind the wheel and check to see what is going on around you when you are driving dangerous machinery. Ban cell phone usage while driving, period. Hands free or not. Bluetooth or not....shut up and drive and save the talking when you get to your destination.
      dave1marine
      • 2 Years Ago
      Cellphones. I equate them to "pacifiers", or "security blankets" for adults. There are some that damn near go into an instant panic or withdrawls, if they lose or forget their electronic companion. Normally, I would say "to each their own", if not for the rude, inconsiderate and downright DANGEROUS habits that effect others while they jabber away about all things mundane and meaningless. HANG UP, AND DRIVE!
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      Jim
      • 2 Years Ago
      instead of banning devices, just write reckless driving tickets to anyone that doesn't have their car under control because of distracted driving.
      Murphy Lee
      • 2 Years Ago
      Yes, please do Deborah. You've no doubt realized that I'm a slobbering idiot who can't wipe his own ass, let alone make smart decisions while behind the wheel of a two ton battering ram. I am powerless against the temptation to make frivolous phone calls while polishing off a bottle of Jack and driving about 120 mph the wrong way on a one way street. See, this whole time I was falsely under the impression that I do in fact possess the mental acuity necessary to determine when and where it would be safe for me to make a phone call without endangering myself and those around me. You're a saint, Deborah, for seeing right through that and keeping another idiot like me off of my phone and causing what is sure to be the demise of other motorists, most of whom cannot even successfully back out of a parking spot without causing a traffic jam. Take that bluetooth off of my face before the crazy thoughts come back!
        SloopJohnB
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Murphy Lee
        And the above was no doubt tap-tapped out on your iPad while driving. So it's perfectly ok to drink and drive where it's 'safe...without endangering myself and those around me.' It's NOT safe and you don't have the ability much less the mental acuity to yap on the phone and drive safely.
      rwcmick
      • 2 Years Ago
      We can't stick our heads in the sand and let technology pass us by. Mobile phones have woven themselves into the fabric of our lives both work and play. These kind total bans smack of those who are out of sync with the common citizen. I remember when Hillary suggested that drivers wouldn't have a problem going back to a national 55 MPH speed limit. Just as connectivity improves, there are collision mitigation technologies that go hand in had. The price for such option are dropping each year. For example, $295 gets you forward collision alert on a 2012 Equinox. Why don't we focus on better driver training in this country so that people will be able to recognize dangerous conditions and the folly of trying to send text messages or tweeting how bored they are driving to work instead of whacking everyone with the same ruler and not allowing any communication in a vehicle. They want us to go back to cradling the phone between our necks or swerving around while looking at paper maps or making dangerous u-turns because they missed a road? C'mon!
      conrock54
      • 2 Years Ago
      Anytype of cell phone use should be banned while in a car if it is not stopped at the side of the road.
    • Load More Comments