You have likely heard about the National Transportation Safety Board’s (NTSB) proposed ban on cell phone use while driving. However, an outspoken critic of the ban might surprise you. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood spoke out against the ban, citing the distinction between hands-free and handheld calls behind the wheel.
According to LaHood, hands-free phone calls while driving are not the problem. Instead, LaHood blames handheld use from texting and dialing while driving as the distracted driving culprit. The NTSB’s proposed ban would not outlaw hands-free calls made through a manufacture-installed system, such as Ford’s Synch system. General Motors has a similar system called OnStar.
LaHood’s stance has won the support of automakers, who claim hands-free calls are safer while driving. An NTSB spokesperson said that hands-free cell phone use could be just as dangerous as handheld use. The NTSB spokesperson cited several car crashes that involved hands-free cell phone use.
LaHood has long urged states to ban texting or making calls with a handheld device while driving. Washington, D.C. prohibits all drivers from using handheld cell phones while driving. Washington, D.C. also bans text messaging for all drivers.
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