Oafish NTSB cell phone rules

Government rarely does nuance well. Prime case came yesterday when the National Transportation Safety Board weighed in on cell phone use while driving.

It’s proposing a total ban on hand-held cell phones in a manner than can only be called oafish.

For example, if you have a hand-held phone with Bluetooth technology (meaning it’s all controlled without your hands leaving the steering wheel) that’s banned. But if you have built-in technology (like the fabulously convenient OnStar technology) you’re legal. That totally makes no sense.

May I recommend to you this morning this article that points out: "Cars are full of distractions: the radio, your kids, a drink, other passengers. Texting is a unique one, because it renders you a total nondriver. Understood. But saying we’ll ban Bluetooth headsets but not OnStar and Ford Sync seems like a tacit acknowledgement that having conversations isn’t the core problem here."

On the distraction meter, I’d certainly put texting high on the list. But kids in the back seat crying for the next chapter of SpongeBob SquarePants can be pretty darn high on the list, too. So can eating and driving. Navigation. Neon billboards. Etc. Etc. Etc.

I think the NTSB is headed down the wrong path with these new rules. It has drawn a weird line because, if I can play role of Conspiracy Brother for a moment, it takes aim at modern driving all together. I wonder if we put a truth pill in the NTSB’s morning coffee whether we’d see a bunch of people talking about taxing car use to encourage citizens to use public transportation.

Bet me …

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