Wednesday, December 14, 2011

New Recommendations for Hands-Free Mobile Devices Suggest Major Change

Earlier this is year we blogged about the expansion of hands-free texting laws across the U.S. Since then, the topic has pervaded local, state and federal agencies, bringing to light the often-overlooked safety concerns surrounding not just texting while driving, but also calling. As the percentage of automobile accidents related to mobile phone usage increases, more regulators and law enforcement officials are questioning whether the devices should even be allowed on the road.

In fact, the National Transportation Safety Board (N.T.S.B.) made headlines in The New York Times recently because of its latest recommendation suggesting something similar.

“No call, no text, no update is worth a human life,” said Deborah A. P. Hersman, chairman of the N.T.S.B., an independent federal agency that investigates driving accidents. The board recommended a ban that includes all hands-free devices. Hersman said she recognized it was a challenging recommendation, as most individuals depend on a mobile phone for communication, but it was the right one.

The agency supported its suggestion with evidence from its investigation of numerous accidents in which mobile phone distraction was a major contributing factor.
Despite the federal recommendation, states have the final say as to whether they want to follow the new safety suggestions or not.

More than 30 states already have hands-free device laws in place including, Calif., Pa., Nev., Maine and Ind.

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