It might be tricky to enforce, but I've gotta go with the National Transportation Safety Board on the need for states to prohibit drivers from using cell phones and other gadgets while guiding a 4,000-pound steel missile down the road.
Tuesday's NTSB recommendation was a unanimous one that applies to both hands-free and hand-held phones.
While it is true that cell phones are a valuable asset for everyone these days - parents, businessmen and the like - something should be done to prevent drivers from using them while behind the wheel, and that something should include drastic fines and penalties.
Sure, we live in a fast-paced world, but wasn't the world fast-paced 20 years ago before we all had phones clipped to our hip? And what's so terribly wrong about pulling over onto the shoulder to accept or make a call? It might slow you down a bit, but if it prevents a life-changing crash, isn't a few lost minutes worth it?
There needs to be more strict laws when it comes to driving and cell phone use and those laws must be enforced. Crashes caused by driver inattention are becoming more and more common -?crashes like the one in Missouri last year that was the result of a 19-year-old driver who reportedly sent or received 11 texts in the 11 minutes just before a collision that resulted in the deaths of two people.
According to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration survey of more than 6,000 drivers, about two out of 10 American drivers overall - and half of drivers between 21 and 24 - say they've thumbed messages or emailed from the driver's seat.
In the U.S. more than 3,000 people have died as a result of driver distraction - that's almost 10 percent of all road fatalities in 2010.
In 2009, there were 58 Minnesota distracted driving deaths and 8,354 injuries related to crashes caused by inattention, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.
Minnesota implemented a texting law in 2008, leading to 18 tickets. This year, more than 430 such tickets have been given.
Currently, 35 states prohibit texting while driving. 35? Why not all 50?
Driving, not texting or dialing, should be a driver's No. 1 priority, but sometimes it's not. Our driving habits have deteriorated to a sad state as it is and adding a cell phone with a keyboard to the mix has only made it worse.
"Sad" is being kind.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood on Thursday announced a final rule prohibiting interstate truck and bus drivers from using hand-held cell phones while operating their vehicles. That's good, but it's not even half the battle. What about the rest of us drivers? This is a law that should be enforced on everyone.
We're horrible drivers. We speed, we swerve, we cut people off - sometimes intentionally - we let football-sized dogs sit on our laps at the wheel, and most of us have forgotten half of what we learned in driver's ed. We read maps when we drive, and try to fold them, too. We dip our fries in ketchup when we drive. We put eye liner on when we drive.
What's next? How much more are we going to test ourselves behind the wheel? Are we going to start putting puzzles together? Nothing like settling in with a good book at 65 mph.
Driving is no time to hone our multi-tasking skills. Just because the vehicle we're driving is on cruise control, doesn't mean we should be.
I'm a cell phone hypocrite. I say that I hate them, yet I rely on mine all the time. I'd love nothing more than to skip mine across a lake, but I'm afraid if I do I'd be compelled to go in after it. I once dropped my cell phone in a toilet and almost had a panic attack. And I do talk on my phone while driving, but if I lose that privilege I won't lose any sleep.
And if I do, I guess I can catch 40 winks on my commute home.