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Calling, Texting and Driving? Maybe Not

Author:QiYe Date:2010-9-1 22:57:05

To the Editor:

Topos Graphics


Re “Ban on Cell Use by Drivers Urged” (front page, Dec. 14):

I applaud the National Transportation Safety Board’s long-overdue recommendation of a ban on all cellphone use by drivers. Deborah Hersman, the board’s chairwoman, acknowledges the unpopularity of such a proposal. State Senator Joe Simitian of California refers to it as a “wake-up call.” Indeed.

Distracted-driving statistics don’t lie. Nor do the unreported numbers of near-accidents. Last year, I was nearly killed when a Bluetooth-equipped driver cut into my lane, sending me swerving off a highway road and almost through a fence. Chattering away, with two children in the back seat, the driver had no inkling she’d nearly eliminated a life. She still doesn’t.

Chronic indignation from the cellphone industry is shameful, when the industry has a chance to instead spark a paradigm shift by prioritizing safety as an advertising standard.

Being connected isn’t everything. Life is.

San Francisco, Dec. 15, 2011

To the Editor:

Despite laws, common sense and abundant evidence that texting and making calls while driving lead to accidents and death, immature people — teenagers and older — will continue to do so. The only way to stop this hazard, which threatens the lives of everyone on the road, is to require carmakers to install signal-blocking devices that turn on when the car engine is running.

Bronx, Dec. 14, 2011

To the Editor:

The National Transportation Safety Board’s call for a ban on cellphone use by drivers, including hands-free devices, while no doubt motivated by good intentions and troubling statistics, is nevertheless ill considered.

Attempts to put the genie back in the bottle rarely, if ever, work. This one has no chance.

Non-hands-free cellphone use, as well as texting while driving (and their cognitive equivalents like tweeting or gaming), are clearly accidents waiting to happen. They should be prohibited and swiftly punished.

But cellphone use with a hands-free device is no more a distraction than myriad other activities in which drivers regularly engage. If such a ban should ever come to pass, I would like the following added:

Changing music CDs; viewing GPS displays; wearing headphones; lighting cigarettes; drinking hot beverages; reading; applying makeup; shaving; dressing (and undressing); and air drumming.

Chestnut Ridge, N.Y., Dec. 14, 2011

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