WSJ has a post on the NHTSA's call to ban cellphone use while driving.
Next Up in the Distracted Driving Debate: Where’s the Data?
The National Transportation Safety Board’s call Tuesday to ban all cellphone use in cars will put a spotlight on the conflicting data about how common and dangerous such behavior is.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration earlier this month released the results of the “National Occupant Protection Use Survey” – conducted by researchers who watched drivers at intersections. This study concluded that about 5% of drivers were holding cell phones behind the wheel. That study also found that 0.9% of drivers were manipulating a hand-held device – a proxy for texting.
Part of this discussion is where the data is to support the conclusions.
The Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued a separate study earlier this month – this one a telephone survey conducted in November and December of 2010 – that tracks closer to State Farm’s findings. http://www.nhtsa.gov/staticfiles/traffic_tech/tt407.pdf This survey found that 80% of men and 73% of women will answer calls while driving, while 43% of men and 39% of women said they would make calls on the road. The NHTSA said its survey had 6,002 respondents.
Both the State Farm and NHTSA telephone use survey found that respondents were more tolerant of talking while driving than texting. In the State Farm survey, 74% said they strongly agreed with the idea of banning texting while driving, but only 36% strongly agreed with the notion of a ban on talking on the phone.
And, who do you think would argue most against this data? Who has the most to lose if this goes into law? The cell phone carriers. You can imagine the carrier lobbyists in Washington maneuvering.
Maybe we should ban talking while driving as that is distracting. Or ban kids from being in the car.
I wonder how many accidents are caused by children in the car vs. talking on the phone? Of course this is silly, but if you are overly obsessed with making driving safer, you come up with silly ideas.