Stars are aligning to ban U.S. drivers from text messaging

Stars are aligning to ban U.S. drivers from text messaging

Summary: Following recent reports on the dangers of drivers being preoccupied by their cell phones, the U.S. Senate is now considering legislation to ban text messaging while driving. This could even be a step toward a total of ban of using cell phones while driving.

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Following recent reports on the dangers of drivers being preoccupied by their cell phones, the U.S. Senate is now considering legislation to ban text messaging while driving. This could even be a step toward a total of ban of using cell phones while driving.

Here are the big reports that recently came to light:

There are already 14 U.S. states (plus Washington, D.C.) that ban drivers from text messaging. The new legislation being proposed in the U.S. Senate would push for all states to pass a ban or lose 25% of their federal highway money. This is the same way drunk driving laws work.

New York Senator Charles Schumer said, "When drivers have their eyes on their cell phones instead of the road, the results can be dangerous and even deadly... The federal government ought to pass a law banning this dangerous and growing practice to protect the millions of Americans on our nation's roads. It is a matter of public safety."

The Washington Post reports that the ban in D.C. has made a significant impact:

"Safety experts say the District's five-year-old driver-cellphone ban offers a model of how to make such laws effective. A 2006 study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety showed a significant decline in phone use by drivers in the District because of the ban. It fell 50 percent initially and remained at that level a year later."

We would expect the cellular carriers to lobby hard against these kinds of laws, however, even they are starting to see the inevitability of such legislation and are falling in line.

Verizon Wireless vice president Steven Zipperstei, said, "We support federal legislation to ban texting and e-mailing while driving. This approach is a logical extension of our previous breaks with other wireless companies to support state-wide legislation banning texting and e-mailing while driving. We applaud Senator Schumer and the Senate sponsors for their leadership."

The video below is a CNBC report that talks about the Car and Driver study:

And here is my CBS colleague Katie Couric weighing in on this topic:

For more insights on mobile phones and other tech topics, follow my Twitter stream: @JasonHiner

Topics: Mobility, Collaboration, Hardware, Telcos

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242 comments
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  • Stars should keep their mouths shut.

    They're a bad example to all of us anyway. What do they show really? That marriage means nothing? That it's ok to be idolized for not having achieved zip? fff.
    CounterEthicsCommissioner-23034636492738337469105860790963
    • Not those kinds of stars :-)

      By "stars" this isn't referring to celebrities. This is talking about "the stars aligning" in the sense of momentum gathering around this idea of banning drivers from text messaging.
      jasonhiner
      • Lol - ok. I got it.

        I'm not into astronomy or astrology, so that didn't cross my mind. Nevertheless, I totally fart on celebrities who open their mouths for anything else than their scripts. The uber-puffed-ego being that senior U2 bono guy who thinks he has the moral authority to Change The World. :)
        CounterEthicsCommissioner-23034636492738337469105860790963
        • stars not "Stars"

          However, celebrities have just as much a right to their opinion as any of us, and have just as much a right to publicize their opinions as any of us. (As we are doing here.) And their opinions just the same as any of us here. Unless you are a "Subject Matter Expert" your opinion is just that. If someone is fool enough to think that because Jane Fonda is a good actress her opinion on the Vietnam War means more than Walter Cronkite's then he or she is as big an idiot as those who believe the future can be read in tea leaves. However when Walter Cronkite, or Henry Kissinger agree with her well then that's news and worth considering.
          But none of this is germane to the topic.
          joeller
        • Re: Lol - OK I got it

          I agree that being a successful "entertainer" does not qualify one to pontificate about every social or political matter. By the same token, I do not believe that lawyers, many of whom make a living defending the ill doings of powerful corporations and wealthy individuals, are necessarily fit to be in government making laws. The evil doings defended include murder and multimillion dolar theft. In addition to their suspect ethics, lawyers can be in a bit of a conflict of interest position.
          canuck31
    • Nizzy, I'm surprised at you...

      I thought you were smarter than that. Completely missed the mark on this one. That's OK. We still love you. ]:)
      mgp3
      • You're making progress, mgp3/2/5/6

        You have controlled yourself this time and not let out insults. Good stuff.
        CounterEthicsCommissioner-23034636492738337469105860790963
        • Back at ya nizuse/MGP4

          .
          mgp3
    • It doesn't matter

      what stars say or how they allign no matter how you look at, whether astrological or Hollywood. People are going to text, eat, change the babies diaper, fiddle with the radio, put on make up... you name it. That is just human nature. people are going to be distracted no matter what is legislated. What this would do though is possibly generate some more income for Uncle Sam so that those of us with clunkers can continue to get $3500 to $4500 back for our trade ins tax free. So, yeah, I think it is a good thing. (by the way, I don't use a cell phone)
      Keywalker4God
  • Banning something? Does that ever work?

    Let's see: drugs? Nope, and just contributes to more
    violence. Pedosexuality: Nope, and just contributes to
    more child rapes and violence against children.

    Need I keep going on? Banning something NEVER EVER WORKS,
    and just gives the police more power to hassle people.

    Now, fining people HARSHLY if you find that they were
    distracted while driving? Yes, that is a GOOD idea, as
    long you don't go too far with it.
    Lerianis10
    • If they banned people working on weekends...

      I bet the vast majority of people outcry at such a condition ;)
      zwhittaker
      • Not in France...

        In fact, it's just the opposite. Sarkozy has tried to change their Sunday blue laws to get businesses to open on Sundays, and it turns out he's a party of one. Not that that matters at this very moment, as most of France completely shuts down for the entire month of August.
        mgp3
    • IMHO

      It'll work. Sure not immediately. It'll (unfortunately) take a few tragic incidences to hit the message home. Once the laws are on the books and a few accidents happen where folks were texting or calling get raked across the coals by the media. Having to explain that they could have avoided a fatal accident (that may not even be their fault) but they were too distracted by their phone to avoid someone dying. The media will do the rest.
      oncall
    • Doesn't work.

      Of course it doesn't work perfectly. Murder is
      "banned" (illegal) too and that still happens -
      you don't think that means it might as well be
      legalised, do you?
      steve_jonesuk
    • Sounds like you think pedosexuality (your word) is OK.

      Sounds like you think pedosexuality (your word) is OK. If there were no laws the rest of us could string you for that - after all, there must be more murders because it is illegal. Death should be the penalty for people who believe in sex with children (and the penalty for rape).
      bobpeg
      • What does this have to do with Texting?

        I am not sure what this has to do with texting? But if the point is that the Federal Goverment has no authority to pass this type of law, then the writer is right. The 10th Adm. to the US Consititution prohibites the Federal Goverment from passing laws that have nothing to with comarace. It is time for the public to stand up to the FEDS, because in England this is how the country is run and those who founded this country did not want to give the feds those powers. The only arguement that can be made is that federaly numbered roads the feds can ask for a law to be passed in each state making it against the law to drive while texting on federaly numbered roads.
        Tim Pa
    • Banning = guilty of crime

      The primary thing of banning this kind of activity is that when some fools is to busy testing and fails to see that child on a bike or a mother pushing a pram etc. and, someone dies then they will be penalised accordingly, not just a whoops, they will go to jail. So some benefit as a deterrent but, also to ensure people face the appropriate consequences for their stupidity, justice must be served.
      rtb
      • Another Revenue Stream

        The REAL "bottom line" is the "bottom line:"

        It's all about MONEY.

        By "banning" texting-while-driving, the governments will receive an endless new stream of revenue.

        Here in NY State, there's up to a $100 fine for cell phone use while driving. But then the state applies "surcharges" and "crime victim assistance fees" and "costs" that add up to $85 more. Even if the judge sets the fine at zero (called an Unconditional Discharge) you still must pay the $85!

        $185 in easy money for the state. 5-minute traffic ticket. No (practical**) way to beat it.

        Seat Belt tickets, same story except maximum fine $50.

        Is it any wonder they assign the cops overtime duty to write cell phone tickets to the civilized public, while the murders, drug dealers, muggers and rapists roam the streets?



        **practical - it costs about $500 (or more) to hire a lawyer who can beat the ticket, maybe. It costs (at most) $185 to pay the ticket instead, and cell phone and seat belt are both zero-point violations, so it (usually) doesn't affect your insurance rates. So the cheapest way out is just to pay the ticket - cha-ching for the state!
        oldbaritone
        • Why we resent NY drivers

          Its this kind attitude towards the law particularly driving laws that cause people here in Maryland and Virginia to curse the New Yorkers who come speeding through here on I-95, the Beltways, and US 301. They drive through at 40 MPH of the speed limit, zig zagging in and out of lanes, cutting people off, causing accidents. (Every week there is an overturned truck on the Beltway that blocks traffic for hours because someone cut someone off and caused an accident that they don't even bother to stop for.) When they do get stopped, they curse the cops for enforcing the law and tell them to go chase real criminals. They also whine and complaint that it is just about making money for the state; not caring that traffic accidents cause 50,000 deaths a year compared to much lower numbers due to murder or roberry. My father in law, and three of my wife's cousins, all cops report that they have more trouble from New York and New Jersey drivers than all other states combined. Listen you don't want to pay the state then OBEY THE LAW. Otherwise criminals should be made to pay for their crimes.

          Far too many times I have been nearly run off the road, narrowly avoided accidents, missed lights, and been cut off by fools that are so concerned with talking on their phone that they can't be away from it for the few minutes it takes to concentrate on driving. If you have to make a call PULL OVER. But I think you will find that this law will be enforced as strongly as the laws requiring Seat belts, lights on in the rain, and clearing all the snow off your car. i.e. not at all. So people will continue to die because some fool was yacking or texting on the phone. Unfortunately the fools will not be the ones who die.
          joeller
        • All I can say is to suck it up

          Seriously. But just because I'm in the mood, let's address this point by point:

          [b]The REAL "bottom line" is the "bottom line:"

          It's all about MONEY.[/b]

          I agree with this in part - a good chunk of a locality's revenue comes from the payment of traffic fines.

          [b]By "banning" texting-while-driving, the governments will receive an endless new stream of revenue.[/b]

          That depends on if it is actually enforced by the police officer or trooper on duty.

          [b]Here in NY State, there's up to a $100 fine for cell phone use while driving. But then the state applies "surcharges" and "crime victim assistance fees" and "costs" that add up to $85 more. Even if the judge sets the fine at zero (called an Unconditional Discharge) you still must pay the $85!

          $185 in easy money for the state. 5-minute traffic ticket. No (practical**) way to beat it.

          Seat Belt tickets, same story except maximum fine $50.[/b]

          Like I said in my header, suck it up. IF you do the crime - and since it IS a traffic violation it IS indeed a crime - you do the time... or pay the fine. I've had my share and then some of traffic violations and the only one I was able to get reduced was a speeding ticket where my speedometer was out of calibration and I brought in a certificate with the calibration and the repair bill. The rest I willingly and with full knowledge of the consequences still made the choice to go over the speed limit and I was fairly caught and did my time - or paid my fines.

          [b]Is it any wonder they assign the cops overtime duty to write cell phone tickets to the civilized public, while the murders, drug dealers, muggers and rapists roam the streets?



          **practical - it costs about $500 (or more) to hire a lawyer who can beat the ticket, maybe. It costs (at most) $185 to pay the ticket instead, and cell phone and seat belt are both zero-point violations, so it (usually) doesn't affect your insurance rates. So the cheapest way out is just to pay the ticket - cha-ching for the state!
          [/b]

          So because there are rapists, murderers, and drug dealers on the streets it's perfectly alright for you to drive your car over the speed limit or text while driving? Are you freaking serious? A crime is a crime is a crime, the only difference is the severity of the crime. A murder is a lot more serious than going 50 in a 35 but both are still crimes, both should still be punished. And if you are texting while driving and hit a pedestrian - and the pedestrian dies - then that IS murder or vehicular homicide... And look, there is a murder behind the wheel.



          athynz