PLEDGE NOW
Here and Now with Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson
Public radio's live
midday news program
With sponsorship from
Mathworks - Accelerating the pace of engineering and science
Accelerating the pace
of engineering and science
Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Mixed Reactions To Broad Cell Phone Driving Ban

(AP)

There’s been a lot of reaction, positive and negative, to yesterday’s call from the National Transportation Safety Board for states to ban all cell phone use– even hands-free– while driving.

Among the naysayers:

  • Florida Sheriff Ben Johnson says the law would be “near impossible to enforce.”
  • Georgia State Senator Jack Murphy says a total ban goes too far. (The state already bans texting while driving, and talking on a phone while driving for anyone under 18.)
  • Chicago business owner Leila Noelliste told the Huffington Post that she is against the ban because being able to talk on the cellphone “when I’m running around town” is important to self-employed people like herself.

Those in favor include:

Mary Maguire, spokesperson for AAA, told Here & Now‘s Robin Young that distracted driving is a serious problem and she hopes the NTSB recommendations provoke debate about the topic.

However, she says it would be difficult to garner the kind of public support needed to forge these recommendations into law.

“I do think that it’s probably unrealistic because there is not one state in the union that has an overall ban. So I think that gives us an indication of legislative sentiment as well as public sentiment,” she said.

NTSB chairwoman Deborah Hersman said she realized the ban might be unpopular but that “no call, no text, no update is worth a human life,” she said. “This is a difficult recommendation, but it’s the right recommendation and it’s time,” she said.

In giving the reasoning for the recommendation, Hersman said the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that 3,000 people lost their lives last year in “distraction-related accidents.”

The board made the recommendation following a deadly highway pileup in Missouri last year  in which a teenager was found to have sent and received 11 text messages in the 11 minutes before the accident.

Nine states now ban the use of hand-held cell phones while driving and 35 states have laws against texting while driving.

And contrary to popular belief, research from the National Safety Council shows that hands-free devices offer no safety benefits for drivers.

Guest:

  • Mary Maguire, spokesperson for AAA

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

August 26 13 Comments

A Recipe For Longevity? Beans, Friends, Purpose And Movement

For nearly a decade, Dan Buettner has researched the places people live longest, healthiest and happiest.

August 25 Comment

Recipes To Celebrate National Sandwich Month

From an end-of-summer tomato tartine to an Italian grilled vegetable sandwich, our resident chef shares her favorites.

August 25 3 Comments

Jimmy Carter’s Fight To Eradicate The Guinea Worm

The former president and founder of The Carter Center said he wants the last guinea worm to die before he does.

August 24 7 Comments

An American Music Playlist From The Strokes’ Guitarist

Albert Hammond, Jr., who was born in L.A. to two immigrants, answers the question, "What does American Music mean to you?"