NTSB Suggests Banning Use of Electronic Devices While Driving — Yeah?

I was a bit surprised to see all the hubbub about the NTSB recommending banning the use of cell phones and other electronic devices while driving. You see, they already passed similar legislation here in Ontario, and the sky hasn’t fallen.

As someone who used to answer my cell phone while driving (I always justified to myself that I was always on a straight stretch of road or not in town but in truth I would answer it almost any time), I can honestly say I was wrong to do that, and I was converted by the evidence. Our brains just don’t seem to be wired to handle cell phone conversations while driving, even though we do much better with other tasks like talking to a passenger.

Unfortunately our brains are also poorly wired to understand statistics. The fact that I used cell phones while driving and I‘ve never had an accident because of it is apparently all the proof I needed to know that it was safe. Of course, the real research disagrees:

There are, of course, edge cases. I know that here you’re free to dial 911. Also, you’re not allowed to be manipulating a Navigation System, but I believe you’re still allowed to have one turned on giving directions (that’s pretty reasonable – you can set it before you leave, or let your passenger set it).

For those of you who like to let their spouse know when you’re almost home, I’ve heard they can get an app where they can see your location in real-time on their phone by tracking your phone’s GPS, so there’s no need to call. (Yeah, I think that’s creepy too, and maybe they already have it installed!)

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