The National Transportation Safety Board wants a nationwide ban on cell phone calls and texting while driving.
The safety police are thrilled. But as usual, regulation limits our freedom without proof that their rule will do more good than harm. Yes, thousands of people are killed because we are distracted, but more laws won't solve that.
Millions more drivers have cell phones now, but fatal crashes are at an all-time low, with just 1.1 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled in 2010. Total highway deaths fell to 32,885 which is the lowest level since 1949.
I'm just as distracted by the radio, my GPS system, and the dog in the car as by my phone. As I've written before, cell phone bans don't solve anything. In fact, a ban may lead to more accidents, according to this study:
"The laws aren't reducing crashes, even though we know that such laws have reduced hand-held phone use, and several studies have established that phoning while driving increases crash risk," says Adrian Lund, President of both the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and HLDI
That may be because the ban causes drivers to text secretly -- to hold their phones lower to avoid the police -- thereby taking their eyes farther from the road.
Let's tell the government to regulate less. Driving is safer now than it has been the last 60 years.