Feds Propose Complete Ban on Phones While Driving
NATIONWIDE - The National Transportation Safety Board is now calling for a nationwide ban on all portable electronic devices while you drive. The ban means not only no texting and no hand-held phones. But also, say goodbye to hands-free phones and blue-tooths.
Its the strictest recommendation to date. California law says a phone in hand in the car equals a ticket. But these new rules would take cell phones entirely away from the driver.
Hang up and drive--that's the message transportation officials are sending across the nation.
"And yes, that does apply to blue tooth, hand held, hands free," said National Transportation Safety Board Chairman, Deborah Hersman.
They also want wireless companies to develop technology that disables phones within reach of a driver. "I think its very harsh and it sounds almost outrageous," said Carey Mackenzie, visiting the desert from Canada. We asked Mackenzie his reactiono to cell phones literally shutting down when you're driving. He said, "Yeah that seems almost somehow undemocratic to me," but other drivers want to hang up. "I think its a grand idea, we have a cell phone, most of the time we don't know where it is, and we use it for emergencies only," said Earl Schatz, visiting the desert from Oregon.
The National Transportation Safety Board says 3,000 people died last year in distracted driving crashes. In Palm Desert, Lesa Tarpey has seen some close calls. "I'm on the sidewalk, and here she comes around the corner, on the cell phone, and I'm all hello, and shes just like whoomp, and almost hit a car with my grandbabies in the back, so I'm very no, no, no, that's pull over you know, pull over," said Tarpey.
35 states ban texting while driving, 10 states and D.C. ban hand-held devices. "I mean what can you really do, everyone's still going to do it, regardless if there's a law or not, that's the honest truth," said Cathedral City resident, Adriana Gracia.
So we stood on a street corner to see just how many drivers are following California's hands free law. Hard to spot, but sometimes we caught the giveaway--the hand up to ear.
In a period of ten minutes, we spotted at least seven drivers talking on their cell phone while driving.
"Can't stop it, you know, it's taken over this is the information age so its only going to get worse, so why try to stomp down on people with laws and regulations, it's not going to work," said Jan Diago of La Quinta.
But the safety board wants people to receive the message, and end the call. sThe NTSB says an exception would be made for emergency calls and GPS devices.