Here We Go: New York State Lawmakers Consider Total Ban On Cell Phones While Driving

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cell-phoneThe vice chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board is testifying today at a New York Senate hearing on distracted driving.

This comes as the legislature is considering taking the cell phone driving ban one step further. Right now, you need a hands-free device to use your cell phone. What is under consideration would be an all-out ban on use of your cell phone behind the wheel.

NTSB vice chairman Christopher Hart has plenty of case studies on the subject.

“Driver of a motor coach went under an arch bridge where the edge of the arch was too low for the bus, but the middle of the arch was not too low, and he has traversed this route many times. But this time he was on his hands-free phone and caused the bus to collide with the bridge,” said Hart.

Hart will tell the State Senate transportation committee it’s about what’s going on in the driver’s mind, not what his hands are doing.
“A lot of people, for example, feel that they’re no more distracted by having a conversation on a hands-free phone than they are by talking with someone who is in the car. Experience would tell you that if someone is in the car with you, they will know that, for example, you’re on an icy road and need to be careful whereas someone who is on the other end of that telephone conversation will have no idea,” Hart told WCBS 880 reporter Alex Silverman.

“One of reasons we’re pleased to be testifying in New York is because New York was the first state to ban the use of hand-held phones,” Hart said. “They already took a leadership role. We’re hoping they will continue to take a leadership role by extending that to hands-free.”

The NTSB late last year recommended a ban on all use of electronic devices while driving, after a multi-vehicle wreck involving school buses in Missouri.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, over 5,400 people were killed and an estimated 448,000 were injured nationwide in crashes involving distracted driving in 2009.

Others testifying at Monday’s hearing include State Police Superintendent Joseph D’Amico, Motor Vehicles Commissioner Barbara Fiala, and representatives of AAA, Auto Alliance and Toyota.

{1010 WINS NY/ Newscenter}


  1. I’ll bet that many more accidents occur because of drivers fiddling with something on their dashboards, like the radio or the heat or air conditioning, than because of using a hands-free cell phone.

  2. They are 100 percent correct i said from the on start that hands free cell is worse than holding a phone. And yes i do alot of driving

  3. They have to face reality! Reality is that its become a necessaty for people to be on the phone while driving. Making laws to make this illegal is taking the right of the government WAY to far! Not every law should be made even if it does save lives.

  4. Finally. Common sense is beginning to appear. Make no mistake – a car is a dangerous weapon, just as dangerous as a rifle. A few tons of steel moving at 50 mph is just as lethal as an M-16 bullet. If the same number of people were killed in an airplane in a terrorist attack as die on our roads every week, the whole country would be horrified.

    Turn your cellphone off when you drive. The life you save may be your own.

  5. You guys are nuts.

    I know any time I am using a cell even if handsfree I am distracted. I avoid it like the plague. They are right. The question is, is it something people can abide by, what exceptions should be made etc.

  6. They are so right on target! Passengers (and driver)in the car and other drivers and passengers in other cars are put into danger by stupid, irresponsible drivers who think that they are so important that the world will come to an end if they shut their phone while they are behind the wheel. TICKET THEM!!!

  7. This is probably pretty subjective, I have to say that when I used to drive, I found talking on a speaker-phone to be far more distracting than holding the phone between my shoulder and my ear.

  8. In that case, ban drivers from talking to passengers. In fact, I heard that Rav Gustman blasted people who listen to tapes of shiurim because they might start to think about some pilpul.

  9. #2,4,5,11 – did you actually read the article? The NTSB studies consistently show that driving while talking on the phone is more dangerous than talking with an in-car passenger or adjusting dashboard settings. Saving lives is a pretty good idea, no?


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