A. Pelletier: No cell phones while driving

Recently, the National Transportation Safety Board recommended that all states introduce bills to ban cell phone use by operators of motor vehicles while driving, with certain exceptions that sound sensible.

First we had the distracted driver law and that law was useless. Now we have the no-texting law — even more useless.

Cell phone use while driving is the problem that must be addressed — period.

I now hope some Maine lawmaker has the courage to introduce such a bill, citing the findings of the NTSB. It will save a lot of lives; maybe yours, maybe your kids, and maybe mine.

Al Pelletier, Norway

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Comments

Steve  Dosh's picture

Letters A. Pelletier: No cell phones while driving

Thanks Al, 11.12.17 4:15 pm
" Shut up and drive , " makes good pretty good sense to many of us , also ? We believe statistics will prove us correct in our thinking , also . Parenthetically , car crashes are - the - major cause of death for 1 6 year olds in these US of A , cell phones or not
Here in Hawai'i it is our law that one must pull to the side of the road and - s t o p - in order to receive or make a cellular phone call
We had Onstar® in our Buick ® ten years ago and got rid of it . Haven't missed it one unit
Just for ƒun ( and recognizing some previous comments ) , there are some pretty dumb laws still on the books though , i. e., Augusta . To stroll down the street playing a violin is against the law . e.g., http://www.dumblaws.com/laws/united-states/maine Melé Kalikimaka , /s, Dr. Dosh and ohana

Joe Morin's picture

p.s.

Do we exempt law enforcement themselves?? Their own cell phones, dispatch radio, LAPTOPS mounted in the car? A large part of our police department is young men & women who are of the generation that grew up with these technologies unregualted. Will these folks have the discipline to practice what they preach? I just don't know. For the record, I have the utmost respect for the men & women who protect and serve our community with police and sherrifs dept.

Jason Theriault's picture

To be fair

To be fair, they do take driving courses. And I don't know what the policy is for using the laptops, but I have always seen them parked when using them.

Steve  Dosh's picture

.Thanks Stig , 11.12.17 4

.Thanks Stig , 11.12.17 4 :20 hst •
Yeah . We took a defensive driving course with the US Dept of State in VA once . That was some fun , dude ! ...and we've also never considered our car to simply be an extension of the living room with all attendant accoutrements , gadgets , gizmos , La - Z - Boy recliners , back seat massagers ( HAHah - e.g, the * new * 2012 Hyundai Genesis :) , and other - u n n e c e s s a r y - distractions . Buy an RV for those purposes amd keep on truckin'
Just a suggestion . Aloha from Pahoa *<;Q~ Santa Steve ƒun --> http://www.noradsanta.org/en/index.html <-- Nice sled ?

Joe Morin's picture

mixed feelings...

The stats the NTSB use to justify this proposal are high rate of accidents from " distracted drivers". While I understand the angle, the NTSB does not address eating while in your car, putting on mascara, applying chapstick, etc... Under the proposal, the only phones that will be lawfull will be the phones that are imbedded in the dash of the vehicles. Hands free units, bluetooth and speakerphone will be outlawed. While I truly believe that this law is being implemented in the spirit of safety the sits funny with me. As i type this comment I am in Jacksonville, Fl joyfully anticipating my return to Maine after two weeks on the road traveling for business. My 3 days in the Miami/ Ft. Lauderdale was enough to see why laws like this are considered. 2 vehicle pileups, numerous fender benders, habitual speeding and an overall disregard for laws that outline the proper use of lane changes. With that said, if you can't be trusted to talk on a handsfree setup will riding with a passenger be illegal? If not, the act of talking to that passenger? Will the Federal Govt. mandate a signal buster for cell phones in all domestic auto manufacturers? Will I buy stock in On-Star if this passes? Has anyone considered the implementation of this law? What would be expected of law enforecement? Will our streets be littered with vehicles pulled over on the highway potentailly created a new wave of danger? I don't know. One thing I do is that anyone under the age of 60 will be an over night criminal by simply hitting answer on their phones. Beccause even the best of us will do it soone or later.

Mark Elliott's picture

Don't get me wrong, I do

Don't get me wrong, I do recognize the dangers of cell phone USE while driving but Joe, you've hit the nail on the head. I just want to add though, through my experiences researching motorcycle rights issues, the NTSB is well known for giving ONLY the info they need to sell their point. On the motorcycle side, we've discredited them many times. I also want to add, since you mentioned the "proposal". The NTSB does not have ANY law making powers. They can only recommend. In the past they have threatened to pull federal highway funding from states that didn't comply. That's why most states passed helmet laws back in the 70s. They did it out of fear, until that is, the NTSB's actions were deemed unconstitutional. Now most states have either relaxed or completely reversed their helmet laws. The NTSB recommendations need to be taken seriously but ALWAYS need to be verified.....and verified again.

Mark Elliott's picture

I'll give you an example:

I'll give you an example: Last year the NTSB released their propaganda concerning motorcycle accidents in an effort to "push" for helmet legislation. They said basically, that motorcycle deaths doubled from 1998 to 2008 and used a current "hot button" in Washington by saying we were becoming a "burden on society" in healthcare costs.

A bit of research found that, yes motorcycle deaths did indeed double from 1998 to 2008. In bodies that is. Motorcycle registrations ALSO doubled making the death rate the same showing no increased. They also failed to tell the public that around 2005 the motorcycle community began a push for responsible riding and that 2008 was actually 3 years into a decline in motorcycle deaths but they had to get their agenda out before that news came to light so they chose the 10 year span that told their story best. 1998 to 2008.....who chooses a date range like that?

Another surprising fact we learned unexpectedly about the NTSB is that while they have investigated thousands of plane and train crashes, they have only investigated 3 motorcycle crashes but for some reason that made them "experts".

I'm not trying to push the helmet issue here but this is my experience with the NTSB. Everything they say needs to be verified!

David  Cote's picture

I had mixed feelings, too...

That is, until the morning I was coming down the exit 80 offramp onto 196 when, as I slowed for traffic was rear-ended by some teenaged girl who showed a great sense of surprise on her face and a cellphone in her hand as I spied her in my rearview mirror. It's time for this to become law.

Joe Morin's picture

I know the feeling

I had the same thing happen to me in Scarborough. I lost my temper and yelled a wee bit. I feel the law is conceived in good spirit but the practical application of this law in a fair way may be impossible. If we could somehow devise a way for our young ladys to not be distracted air-heads and our young men to not be aggresive meat-heads on the highway we would go a long way.

ERNEST LABBE's picture

Joe go out on the

Joe go out on the road for twenty plus years. Women are far more aggressive drivers then their male counterparts. Especially young women. Ride down the turnpike at rush hour and watch them weaving in and out of traffic constantly trying to gain a second here and a second there. I have thre daughters and two sons and I refuse to ride with the girls.

AL PELLETIER's picture

God Bless you Ernest

I've got 3 daughters so I know what you mean.
What prompted me to write my letter was that several years ago I was leaving Welchville heading toward Mechanic
Falls. Right where the road narrowed for a bridge an SUV was heading straight at me in my lane and the driver had cell phone in hand. I had to take the ditch to avoid a head on. A month ago I was at the light leaving the Wall Mart parking lot. My light turned green to turn left on to RT 26. As I got in the middle of the intersection a van was going south through the red light and I was almost t-boned. Again the driver had a cell phone to her head.
Now multi-tasking is OK but when you have control of a 5,000 LB. machine, going at any speed, having total control of that machine should be your one and only priority.
And I agree with many posts on this subject about other distractions while your driving but when cell phone use is compared to be equal to drunk driving and when common sense doesn't work, what you need is a law.

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