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Knee-jerk reaction by NTSB

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Topics:  National Transportation Safety Board

Knee-jerk reaction by NTSB

Gus Philpott
Woodstock Advocate
December 14, 2011

Does anyone else think big government needs to take a hike?

The National Transportation Safety Board has probably done some good over the years. This doesn't mean that the public should let them run roughshod over them.

Tuesday's recommendation to ban all driver use of cellphones, even hands-free ones, deserves bitter condemnation.

The NTSB was apparently influenced by a 19-year-old driver who was involved in a collision near Gray Summit, Mo. last year after sending/receiving 11 text messages in 11 minutes. I wonder if it considered the Illinois fatal crash involving a trooper traveling 126MPH while phoning and texting.

There are plenty of penalties for stupid driving and distracted driving. I certainly see many driving violations by drivers on the phone, but a total ban on cell phone by drivers is wrong.

But a reason not to ban cell phone usage by drivers is not to allow Realtors to do business or any other businessperson to operate a rolling office. If a Realtor is rocketing down the highway, on a 3-way call trying to close a deal or book a showing, reading her Day-Timer and listings, juggling paper and pencil and steering wheel, checking her hair and make-up, eating her Big Mac, drinking coffee, speeding, tailgating, missing red lights, not signaling turns, etc. give her a ticket for the violations.

When you are behind the wheel, the first and most important duty is to drive the car safely and within traffic laws.

What's next? Can't listen to the radio in your car? Can't talk with passengers? Can't even allow passengers to talk among themselves? Can't take your eyes off the road to read street signs?

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