Should there be a federal law to prevent texting while driving?

Episode 882 (51:44)

Fred from Mahwah, NJ

Fred is concerned about the studies done that show alarming numbers of kids who text and drive. Leo says it's more than just texting though, there are a lot of things people do while driving that is equally as dangerous. In general, Leo believes we are more and more distracted in our lives and cell phones do contribute to it. The NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) in December recommended a full ban on the use of cell phones while driving, not just texting but talking as well even if it's hands-free. The issue is that you can't pinpoint one source of distraction. Cell phones are a problem, but so is applying makeup, eating, and messing with the radio.

Leo thinks the first step is education. The police already can pull someone over regardless of the cause. So even if there isn't a specific law against something, the police still can stop someone, ticket them and even take them in if they're enough of a hazard. A law against texting and driving might help to convince teenagers that there is a bigger risk than they believe. He thinks passing a law preventing even talking on the cell phone while in the car is going too far, though.

Fred was wondering about the technology to prevent the use of a cell phone in certain areas like they do in Japan. This is illegal in the US because it's a safety hazard and people could miss or not be able to make emergency calls. There is, however, software available on most cell phones that will disable the phone when it detects the phone moving at higher rates of speed.

Leo doesn't think passing laws is the answer though, because then they would have to pass a law for every kind of distracted driving. He thinks the car manufacturers and cell phone manufacturers should do what they can to make it possible to do more through voice control without having to take your hands off the wheel or eyes off the road. Leo agrees this is a huge problem, though, and something does have to be done to prevent it.