Should cell phones while driving be banned?

December 13, 2011 1:30:35 PM PST
So the NTSB wants to ban all "personal electronic devices" when you're driving. It's all designed to stop and prevent the dangerous texting and talking-while-driving that many of us admit we've done, or do.

That's all good, trying to stop it. The suggestion to ban these devices - and it is just a suggestion, although it carries influence - seems a tad late, at least from this humble perch.

The barn doors, as they say, are way more than open.

Hard to ban cell phones and smart phones and little computers when most of them are attached via Bluetooth to the car itself. Automakers aren't fools - they know what customers wanted. And they make it very easy to be connected while driving. Your email and texts and calls - all can be connected to your onboard screens the moment you get within a few feet of your car.

And what about all the other onboard entertainment and navigation devices that are built in? How distracting is all that?

I remember when the first built-in GPS systems were about to be introduced - I went to a federal safety test track for 20/20 and drove one of the cars with a GPS installed. We wanted to see exactly how long my eyes were off the road.

I was all over the place. I'd like to think that I've now mastered these onboard screens - but we all know that everything about new cars other than the driving part is designed to take our minds off the road.

And the car makers are profitable accomplices.

So yes yes yes, let's ban texting and all personal devices. But there's no way we're going to suddenly demand that people stop talk on cell phones when cell phones are automatically connected the minute we start the car. I'm just sayin'.

However, this just in: There's new research that shows Americans are returning - RETURNING! - their electronic gadgets even though they are not defective! Perhaps we just don't know how to use them?

We'll have the latest on this new proposed ban, tonight at 11.

Also at 11, we're following the big news today that four other suspects in the deadly shooting of a New York cop have been arrested. The main question remains over the main suspect, and why authorities here didn't keep him behind bars last month after he was arrested for crack cocaine possession and endangering the welfare of a minor. He was also wanted in North Carolina for shooting someone, but that charge included extradition only inside the state.

If you're scratching your head, join the club.

We're also following the latest developments in the Long Island serial killer investigation. Tonight authorities say they've found a body in the area where missing prostitute Shannan Gilbert was last seen a year ago May. Cops say they believe the remains are those of Gilbert, but they are awaiting tests before making a positive identification.

And something of a shocker today in a courtroom in Bellfonte, Pennsylvania - where former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky waived his right to a preliminary hearing on charges he sexually abused up to 10 children for years.

The hearing was supposed to happen this morning - but Sandusky's surprise move put off the possible testimony of the victims today.

Also at 11, no shocker - the Postal Service is delaying until at least May its plan to close or consolidate nearly 3,700 post offices around the country. Pressure from constituents of lawmakers - the likely culprit. What a conundrum: The Postal Service is hammered by competitors and by dwindling revenues, and yet, for a huge chunk of the population - and certainly those without computers - the post office remains the number-one way they pay bills and sent communications. Stay tuned.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Meteorologist Lee Goldberg with his AccuWeather forecast, and Laura Behnke (in for Rob Powers) with the night's sports. I hope you can join Sade Baderinwa and me, tonight at 11.


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