RICHMOND (WTVR) - Your cell phone is not your BFF behind the wheel. That is the message from the Feds.
The National Transportation Safety Board is urging states to ban all texting – emailing – or chatting on the phone, even hands-free, while driving. Declaring them – too dangerous.
NTSB Chairwoman Deborah Hersman acknowledged that complying would involve changing what has become ingrained behavior for many Americans. "We're not here to win a popularity contest," she said. "No email, no text, no update, no call is worth a human life."
Dave Saunders – with Madison and Main Advertising agency and social media expert says the feds might be well intentioned – an all out ban goes too far.
“I’m not in favor of distractive driving let me be clear, but banning all devices is a bit overreaching. Using a hands free device to talk to someone is like talking to another party in the car.”
35 states and Washington DC already ban texting while driving. Meanwhile nine states and the nation’s capitol already say hands free cell phones are illegal. Virginia is not on either list.
How widespread is mobile device use on the roads? The NTSB says about two out of ten Americans and half of drivers between 21 and 24 says they’ve texted, tweeted or updated their status while in the driver’s seat.
Saunders says, “Personally I think people should just shut up and drive!”
Drivers we spoke with were split on a ban across the board.
Michael Eaddy from Henrico County says, “The truth is. Everyone uses a cell phone the further we get in this world there will be no house phones. Only cell phones.”
Karen Ellis from Richmond says, “If I have to make a phone call I try pulling into a parking lot. If I’m not on my cell phone and someone coming down the road is on their cell phone and I’ve got the right of way and they hit me! It’s not a good situation.”
If a ban on mobile phones use goes on the books – Dave Saunders questions how it will be enforced. Saunders says it’s a case of common sense.
Saunders says, “In text language I’d say ‘S-M-H’ .. Shaking my head. Should they use them while driving? Probably not. Should I read my newspaper behind the wheel probably not!”