“A federal agency is calling for a nationwide ban on all cellphone use while driving. Once again, Washington busybodies are exaggerating a problem because it happens to be a behavior they don’t approve of.”
Investor’s Business Daily editorializes,
First, regulating cellphone use is not a federal responsibility, even on federal roads. This is not an issue that Washington has the authority to address.
Second, there’s no compelling reason for it. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that 3,092 traffic deaths last year involved distracted drivers. But using a cell phone is only one of many driver distractions. Eating and drinking while behind the wheel are two others, and they are far more dangerous than yapping on a phone.
In fact, a 2009 NHTSA study found that 80% of all car wrecks are caused by drivers eating or drinking — not cellphone use — with coffee-guzzling the top offender.
Then there’s this. According to federal data, traffic deaths have fallen from 2.1 per 100 million vehicle miles in 1990, when virtually no one had a cellphone, to 1.1 in 2009, when almost everyone does.
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We have no problem with bans on texting while in the driver’s seat. Texting forces a driver’s eyes off the road and is clearly risky. But it must be done at the state level. That’s how federalism works. States that don’t see texting as a threat on their roads are free to keep it legal…