Turns out the federal government's attempts to create enforceable oversight of cellphone use in vehicles has hit a Swiftian snag: it seems there isn't a government agency specifically empowered with the authority to do so. The legislative boundaries of the Federal Communications Commission end at the phone itself, those of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration end at the vehicle itself. Neither is equipped to address how people combine the two while driving.

So, according to a report in Automotive News, what NHTSA honcho David Strickland wants is to have Congress bestow the authority on some agency to make such laws. For now, the recommendations NHTSA drafts are only just that – recommendations. Automakers aren't bound by them.

Not that it should or will stop Strickland's minions, but 37 states and our nation's capital already have laws – with teeth – addressing the use of phones while driving. If our time on the roads is any indication, those laws are almost universally ignored by police, and we can't see how a federal fiat would change that, but such laws are on the books. Strickland has testified in front of Congress on the matter, however, no one expects movement on it anytime soon.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 18 Comments
      SloopJohnB
      • 2 Years Ago
      Exactly. It's apparently impossible to enforce no cellphone use while driving. It's the law in the UK and it has teeth, but for some reason it's simply not effectively enforced in the US. Get a jammer.
      jbm0866
      • 2 Years Ago
      How about let individual states handle it...or not handle it? Something like this is already difficult to enforce....sometimes it's obvious someone is texting while driving, and other times you really can't tell what a person is doing behind the wheel. Sadly, it's probably going to be up to the makers of the phone hardware to put and end to this by having internal motion detectors (or gps) disable texting above walking speed. Of course the diehards will find a way around this in a matter of seconds..
        Sean Conrad
        • 2 Years Ago
        @jbm0866
        Except then you can't use your phone as a passenger, or on a train, or a bus...
      sc0rch3d
      • 2 Years Ago
      gotta love those traffic signs (which are a distraction) that say to stop talking and texting
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        Just Stuff
        • 2 Years Ago
        You forget, with most laws like this the police are exempt from them. They are like the bad parent who always spouts, Do as I say, Not what I do.
        space
        • 2 Years Ago
        yea, seriously, most times I see a police officer driving down the street he or she has a cell phone held up to their ear.
      ckaught78
      • 2 Years Ago
      The only way we will ever get people to stop using their cell phones while driving will be to increase the fines, add points to driving records, and to have police actually enforce the laws. Increasing the fines will provide police with the incentive to pull people over.
      schattig84
      • 2 Years Ago
      Maybe they should start charging the cops that ignore laws with obstruction of justice. Their job is to uphold the book of law, not to pick and choose which laws they like. The cops need to be held accountable for their own failures
      Basil Exposition
      • 2 Years Ago
      So the feds have discovered the States still have a tiny spec of self governance rights. No big surprise they are moving quickly to quash this.
        nomadsto
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Basil Exposition
        Im sorry but when hear states rights i just here "we dont want women votin or queers marryin of black folk walkin around chainless" i know this extreem responce but isnt that what the civil war was over, states rights?
          space
          • 2 Years Ago
          @nomadsto
          hey nomadsto. become nomadstfu and get bent,
          HydraulicDragon
          • 2 Years Ago
          @nomadsto
          Thanks to states rights, here in NY gay LBGT marriage is legal. Isnt that the opposite of what you were saying, nomadsto?
          nomadsto
          • 2 Years Ago
          @nomadsto
          Hey Dragon im not gona play if your gona use "facts" and well thought out logical arguments! I only debate easy oponents like Space.
      RocketRed
      • 2 Years Ago
      Tie the requirment to highway funds, or whatever. The practical limts on federal authority are few. No need for this handwringing. Congress can just pass legislation under the ICC also. Who is going to bing a constitutional challenge?
        wanderlust
        • 2 Years Ago
        @RocketRed
        No problem then states should be able to opt out of paying any form of federal tax which goes to highway funds. No funds.. No tax.
      nomadsto
      • 2 Years Ago
      Thats silly, the NHTSA has friggin safety in it's name! If its about car safety its thier call.
      HydraulicDragon
      • 2 Years Ago
      This is stupid. Thanks to a crackdown, over 3,300 people in NY state were caught using their phone while driving in the last month. Thats 3300+ people who are going to think twice about doing it again. Why do we need more regulation? Give time for the anti-texting laws to take effect on statistics. This is overbearing, as my phone is my gps, my hands-free device, and my music player. I dont use it while driving other than for those things, all of which are features now integrated into newer cars. While youre at it, remove my sunvisors so I cant flip those around while driving, why dontcha?
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