Nov 172010
 
 November 17, 2010  Surveillance

Jeff Winkler reports

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said using a cell phone while driving is so dangerous that devices may soon be installed in cars to forcibly stop drivers — and potentially anyone else in the vehicle — from using them.

“There’s a lot of technology out there now that can disable phones and we’re looking at that,” said LaHood on MSNBC. LaHood said the cellphone scramblers were one way, and also stressed the importance of “personal responsibility.”

Read more on the Daily Caller.

This is truly absurd and dangerous. I cannot begin to count how many times I have used my phone while in my car to report a car accident with injuries on the road ahead of me where 911 needed to dispatch emergency vehicles while I started assisting injured drivers or passengers. In emergencies, such as the driver who was in cardiac arrest, time is of the essence and anything that delays making a 911 call can make the difference between life and death.

  4 Responses to “Secretary of Transportation LaHood: We’re looking into technology to disable cell phones in vehicles”

  1. I’ll suggest a compromise – the effective field is large enough to cover the driver’s area and seat.

    I ride a motorcycle. EVERYONE who has come close to hitting me has had a cell phone plastered to their ear. EVERY LAST ONE. It’s the only reason why I installed extra loud tail pipes. It’s the reason I installed a 130dB air horn. One time when I used that horn the cell-phoner, who was crossing 3 lanes of traffic without looking at all, just about managed to throw the phone through her own windshield.

    But looking at your example – you couldn’t wait until you got to the road side to dial? Is it not dangerous to everyone around you for you to be diverting your attention from safely operating your own vehicle and trying to dial while everyone else is trying to avoid the crash?

    • In some cases, you can’t get to the roadside to dial as you’re stuck behind the incident on the roadway. When I can pull off quickly, I do, of course, then dial and run. But from what they’re describing, a jammer/scrambler could interfere as long as you’re in the car. That’s also very bad news for people trapped in cars who are trying to call for help precisely because they can’t get out of their car.

      I agree that people driving and talking on the phones is a big problem, but what they’re proposing goes way too far and creates its own serious safety risks. I’d rather see them start ticketing people like crazy first as a campaign — just like they did when they wanted more people to wear seat belts. Or at least have a 911 exception to the scrambling if that could be configured.

      • Actually they have that already with the newer jammers – the phone will display “Emergency calls only” as opposed to a particular network such as T-mobile or ATT.

        • Interesting. Thanks for sharing that.

          I still think that that approach (jamming) winds up punishing everyone for the poor judgment of a minority and that we need to focus on personal responsibility and accountability. Where are we going — people will have to prove they’re not drunk to start their car, they can’t make a call unless it’s an emergency, and some states don’t want you to be able to smoke in your own car. Personal responsibility and accountability are being replaced by legislation. It’s too much big government for my taste.

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