U.S. House bill calls for ban on using cell phones while driving

Texting and driving

Thursday, legislation was introduced that states that drivers are to be banned from holding cell phones while operating vehicles. The proposal is titled the Safe Drivers Act of 2011.

The act is directed towards the Department of Transportation, and would require them to set a national standard that holding a mobile device as a driver, with the exception of specific emergencies, is no longer permitted by law.

“Driving while making a phone call, texting or using apps cam be as dangerous as driving drunk, and much more common… With some basic common-sense rules that are already in place in some parts of the country, we can reduce injuries and save lives in America,” said Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, D-N.Y.

The motivator for the proposal is the total of 5,400 deaths related to distracted driving in 2009.

Hands-free devices would still be legal, but the DOT would receive further instruction to conduct research on the dangers of driving and talking on the phone. This allows the bill to tighten up regulations even more down the road. The upside here is that automakers are already expanding hand-free technologies and making them available quickly. That aside, should we eliminate passengers, next? I don’t advocate the use of these devices while driving, of course, but I can’t readily subscribe to more rules like this, because I fear we are beginning to cross a legal interference threshold, overall. Or, perhaps, the argument is that society is no longer capable of acting responsibly due to technology?