S. Fla. Drivers React To NTSB’s Recommended Cell Phone Ban

FORT LAUDERDALE (CBS4) – What do you think of a total ban on cell phone use and texting by drivers?

The National Transportation Safety Board recommended that states should ban the use of cell phones and other electronic devices by all drivers except in the case of an emergency.

“According to NHTSA, more than 3,000 people lost their lives last year in distraction-related accidents,” said NTSB chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman. “It is time for all of us to stand up for safety by turning off electronic devices while driving. No call, no text, no update is worth a human life.”

At first, many love it the idea of a total ban.

“I think it’s a great idea,” said one driver.  “I think I even find myself distracted by texting and driving, I’ll admit to it.”

But when drivers hear more details, and realize it means no phone at all, it’s suddenly not such a great idea.

“This means you couldn’t make a quick call to the boyfriend, the husband, the kids, nobody,” explained CBS 4’s Ted Scouten to Jessica Holley. “ With this day, everyone has Bluetooth, hands free head sets, I don’t think there’s a problem utilizing stuff like that,” said Holley.

“You wouldn’t be able to use that,” said Scouten.

With shock in her eyes, Holley quickly said, “I disagree with that then!”

“I just don’t see the difference between hands free talking and talking to a companion in the car,” said driver Angie Wade. “ So I don’t agree with banning the hands free too.”

“You should be more responsible and cognizant of what you’re doing on the road,” believe Teag Jones.  “ I don’t think there should be a law dictating whether you can use your phone while driving.”

Florida lawmakers have tried for several years to pass a text messaging ban, but have failed to do so. Another texting ban has been proposed for the upcoming 2012 legislative session.

“Doing nothing is not an option at this point,” cautioned Democratic State Senator Eleanor Sobel from Hollywood. She is pushing a “dangers of texting and driving” bill.  As much as she wants a total ban – she doesn’t see it happening in the current legislature.

“Reality in Florida is that this is not a priority,” she lamented. “I’d like us to address this issue as we addressed seat belts.”

Right now, the strongest legislation being discussed in Tallahassee is for a total ban on texting and driving. A violation would carry a $30 fine.  But it would be a secondary offense, meaning drivers could only be cited if they were pulled over for another infraction.  Insiders say the measure will likely fail.

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