Talking and texting behind the wheel have been feeding off each other long enough.
This is the likely reason for the on the use of cell phones while driving--an excellent decision based on the countless accidents and lives lost to meaningless (or high-stress) conversations on cell phones.
Texting, the apparent root of all evils, may be the catalyst that has launched the decision for recommending a total ban. By degrees, people have begun to think that since they have "mastered" the ability to talk and drive, surely they can successfully manage occasional "look-see" at a text message here and there. This evolution has created a nasty new species of hazardous driving.
The NTSB's decision has not been well-received by those who think they have adapted to the hazards by developing an extra appendage of sorts, allowing them the coveted spot amongst the survival of the fittest. These people have not yet figured out that they have only remained on the planet through a lucky twist of fate. It is because of them (and the unlucky ones) that the NTSB must initiate the smackdown on cell phones behind the wheel.
It has never been an entitlement to talk on the phone while driving. Texting has only exacerbated the issue of taking risks behind the wheel by adding yet another layer of distraction to the job of driving.
As for hands-free devices, the NTSB wants to ban those too. However, some people don't think hands-free is any different than the distraction of having a conversation with a passenger in your car.
"I don't think that talking on a hands-free device is any worse than talking to a passenger; the potential for distraction would be the same. On the other hand, you can't ride down the road while texting or reading a text," says Scott Fagan of East Cobb.
In Illinois, where cell phone use behind the wheel has been legally banned, (hands-free devices are the exception), drivers still break the rules.
"I drive from appointment to appointment for work and rare is the day that I don't see dozens of people talking or texting behind the wheel. The rule of thumb seems is that whenever someone in traffic is going ten miles below the speed limit, they're on the phone," says Charles Dereck Van Wickel who lives in Chicago.
Van Wickel added that the problem with a cell phone/driving ban would be enforcement. "Unless a cop sees you doing it, you're likely to get away with it, which makes you more likely to do it again. Here in Chicago, we have a law against driving and talking, but the police themselves are among the worst violators."
Until a ban is strictly enforced, driving and holding a cell phone conversation at the same time is going to continue to take lives because as we all know, texting is also a part of that package.
In the meantime, just remember this,the last conversation of your life could take place behind the wheel of a car. Or you could wind up killing someone else because you just had to talk on your phone, or sneak a peek at that incoming text instead of focusing your attention on the road and the cars around you.
Editor's Note: Be sure to.