The New York Times is reporting that the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration decided not to go forward with a large study on the potential distractions of using a cell phone while driving and held back data and research already gathered, because there was a fear it would anger Congress.
On the one hand that sounds like your typical government with its head in the sand story (or lobbyists hands in their back pockets), and on the other hand I’m glad they didn’t fund the full study. Why?
Quite honestly, I don’t think there need to be new laws put on the books about using cell phones, and texting while driving. There are already laws on the books about reckless driving and to my mind anyone who is texting while driving is already guilty enough. The same holds true, in my opinion, for those who don’t use a hands free solution while talking on the phone and driving. If we need to spend money to determine if using hand held devices while driving is a potential danger, then I think we need to look more at the deficiencies caused by having our heads stuck in places where they don’t belong.
Yes, states have enacted hands free laws, but let’s face it, they don’t really solve the issue because in most cases you can still physically dial a cell phone under the existing laws. This “compromise” came about because many Bluetooth and Voice Control solutions just don’t work as well as we’d like them to, if at all, and the cell phone industry lobbied for things not to go that far so as to keep their costs down. Frankly, the newer laws already passed are so full of loopholes as to be meaningless.
Today all of the research is being made public (you can see them on the NYTimes site.) I’m sure it will provoke cries for more stringent laws. I say save us all the aggravation and the expense and just enforce the laws we already have, even if it upsets Congress or whomever.
The next thing you know we’ll be funding studies about passing laws regarding texting while walking. Although I don’t think that would have helped this lady.