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Cellphones Communications Government Transportation United States

Why the NTSB Is Wrong About Cellphones 1003

YIAAL writes "After a multi-car pileup involving two school buses, the NTSB is urging states to ban all cellphones and personal electronic devices in cars, even hands-free phones. But on looking at the NTSB report, it appears that the big problem was a school bus driver who was following too closely, and another school bus driver who wasn't watching the road. Why is the NTSB targeting gadgets instead of bad drivers?"
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Why the NTSB Is Wrong About Cellphones

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  • Because it's easy (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Audent ( 35893 ) <[audent] [at] []> on Thursday December 15, 2011 @04:06PM (#38387466) Homepage

    It's easier to say "ZOUNDS, we must BAN this THING" than it is to say "Our driver training is not up to scratch, we don't review our training at regular intervals and we don't have mandatory retests for the people we entrust our children to" because that would sound like they've not done their job.

    Sadly this isn't restricted to driving buses either.

  • by FlavaFlavivirus ( 2021178 ) on Thursday December 15, 2011 @04:08PM (#38387522)
    As a motorcycist, I would encourage people to not talk or text on their phones while driving. Whenever someone tries to kill me, it's always the same: a woman fiddling with her phone. However, I'm sure this ban would be enforced sporadically, with no reduction in traffic accidents caused by distracted will just become another excuse for the cops to pull you over and smell your breath.
  • Re:multitasking (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Thursday December 15, 2011 @04:40PM (#38388160) Homepage

    Like the low IQ moron this morning texting that kissed the guard rail and then bounced across 4 lanes of traffic. and ended up against the other guard rail. The loser never put his stupid phone down as I could see the glow of the freaking screen the entire time 4 cars back.

  • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Thursday December 15, 2011 @04:52PM (#38388354) Homepage

    MY solution to that has been two 140db airhorns on my bike. Twice I have scared the crap out of a lady texting so badly that her phone went out the window.

  • by Grishnakh ( 216268 ) on Thursday December 15, 2011 @04:55PM (#38388420)

    Exactly: the fundamental problem is that humans shouldn't be driving themselves in most cases. We have the technology to do better, and we've had this technology for decades. We just need to design and build a Personal Rapid Transit system like SkyTran that takes you where you want to go, using far less energy than a 6000-pound car and far more safely. Obviously, this system wouldn't replace cars and trucks for every conceivable use, but installed in metro areas, it would vastly cut down on the number of miles driven by regular vehicles just by taking care of commuters. The only problem with this system is all the idiots who complain that it won't work for people living in the middle of nowhere.

  • Re:multitasking (Score:4, Interesting)

    by nitehawk214 ( 222219 ) on Thursday December 15, 2011 @05:09PM (#38388670)

    it is much more dangerous to eat-while-driving than text-while-driving

    Now, at first I would say that I don't believe that for a second. However I suppose it depends on what you are eating/drinking. I often eat a granola bar on my way to work. The picture at your link is certainly foolish and stupid since the guy looks like he needs more than 2 hands just to eat that thing, much less hold food and drink at the same time. But eating a candy bar or drinking from a properly contained drinking vessel is perfectly fine, as long as it is done when it is safe to do so and not trying to make some sort of menuver.

    However I was standing at a corner waiting to cross the street when I saw a guy driving a car and eating breakfast. Cereal, from a bowl, with a spoon. Perhaps they are on to something here with calling for a general ban.

  • by trout007 ( 975317 ) on Thursday December 15, 2011 @05:35PM (#38389104)

    How about a cert on you liscense if you can pass the drivers test while texting? Or drinking for that matter. If I can pass the test with a 1.2 BAC I should get a stamp allowing me to do so. Not all people are equally impaired by the same thing.

  • by mozumder ( 178398 ) on Thursday December 15, 2011 @05:39PM (#38389172)

    The kid DID cause the initial crash, not the bus drivers. The fact is this accident wouldn't have happened without the kid.

    Roads should NOT be used by anybody but professional drivers.

    For everyone else, they should take public transportation or use commercial car services/delivery services. 95% of the people on the road should never be allowed to drive.

    A drivers license should cost at least $10,000.

    This would be the start of a proper transportation infrastructure. Leave driving to professionals, so the general public doesn't waste 2 hours a day on useless labor like driving, when they should be doing something more economically productive like reading or sleeping or programming on a computer.

    Really, it's the 21st century, and we force the population to do hours of manual labor per day to even get to work? Make them sit in a car and force them to drive to get to work? They can't read a book or work on their computer while going to work? Really?

Machines that have broken down will work perfectly when the repairman arrives.