NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – The vice chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board is testifying Monday at a New York Senate hearing on distracted driving.

WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman On The Story

This comes as the legislature is considering taking the cell phone driving ban one step further. Right now, you need a hands-free device to use your cell phone. What is under consideration would be an all-out ban on use of your cell phone behind the wheel.

NTSB vice chairman Christopher Hart has plenty of case studies on the subject.

“Driver of a motor coach went under an arch bridge where the edge of the arch was too low for the bus, but the middle of the arch was not too low, and he has traversed this route many times. But this time he was on his hands-free phone and caused the bus to collide with the bridge,” said Hart.

Hart will tell the State Senate transportation committee it’s about what’s going on in the driver’s mind, not what his hands are doing.

“A lot of people, for example, feel that they’re no more distracted by having a conversation on a hands-free phone than they are by talking with someone who is in the car. Experience would tell you that if someone is in the car with you, they will know that, for example, you’re on an icy road and need to be careful whereas someone who is on the other end of that telephone conversation will have no idea,” Hart told WCBS 880 reporter Alex Silverman.

“One of reasons we’re pleased to be testifying in New York is because New York was the first state to ban the use of hand-held phones,” Hart said. “They already took a leadership role. We’re hoping they will continue to take a leadership role by extending that to hands-free.”

The NTSB late last year recommended a ban on all use of electronic devices while driving, after a multi-vehicle wreck involving school buses in Missouri.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, over 5,400 people were killed and an estimated 448,000 were injured nationwide in crashes involving distracted driving in 2009.

Others testifying at Monday’s hearing include State Police Superintendent Joseph D’Amico, Motor Vehicles Commissioner Barbara Fiala, and representatives of AAA, Auto Alliance and Toyota.

Where do you stand on the issue? Sound off in the comments section below!

(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Comments (22)
  1. Jimmy Jay Bob says:

    Prove I’m on my cell phone hands free. Not likely. I was just singing along to a Whitney Houston song, oscifer. What’s next, no fellatio while on the road?

  2. Diedrich Knickerbocker says:

    Did anyone else notice the irony of the CBS local TV reporter this morning doing a story on this and distracted driving, all the while driving the “Mobile CAM” and turning away from the windshield to address the camera? Distracted driving indeed! When they have an accident in that thing it will be a YouTube sensation, provided no one is killed.

  3. Bob says:

    What BS! Police should aggressively catch people on the roads and don’t stop. I read or hear on the TV, “police will be cracking down driving while talking on cellphones for the next 2 weeks.” Why not do this 365 days a year!!!!!! These dummies on their phone while driving have no class and no respect for the law. I see many on the parkways talking for miles and don’t even care as they are swaying between lanes or going 20MPH.

    Don’t penalize the ones that use hands free devices such as Sync!

  4. Joe Stein says:

    These so called “Lawmakers” looking for a little “publicity” are trying to be “Moneymakers” for this corrupted-rotten-stinking State. That’s all this is about…

  5. Jimmy says:

    Goes too far. Remember CB radios? How come no one had a problem with them?

    1. JOSH SUCKS says:

      CB radios were not ubiquitous as cell phones are. Secondly and perhaps more importantly, CBer’s put the mike down and were not yakking it up non-stop. They had their conversation and then it was over. People on cells never hang up. Also CBer’s were better drivers because they hung and drove instead of being distracted the entire time they were behind the wheel.

  6. mj says:

    i saw tweo cops the other day driving their cars and talking on the p[hone .. oh yeah i know … THATS different… i’m SURE it was police business

  7. Tom says:


  8. rocker90 says:

    this would be violation of our first ammendment rights.

    Say oyu are running alte to work and need to call your superior?

    1. Michael H. says:

      Pull over. Driving is a privilege, not a right.

      1. Jeff Sayin says:

        That’s part of the problem – government has brainwashed many of us into thinking driving is a privilege when inthis day and age, it should be a RIGHT since most people can’t make a living without needing to drive to a job. It’s also about freedom of movement which in and should be an inherent right in a free socitety.

        While the government certainly has a right to make sure people are not driving dangerously- that should be based on observing reckless driving not anyone talking in a car and given the zeal of our police state to pull over and prosecute anyone they can whether it be talking in a car or tireed eyes and therefore under hte influence of drugs (many of which do not impact the person’s ability to drive) we should be very careful before making laws that will only furhter inclrease the police state particualrly since we have very few constitutionally recognized rights once pulled over in a car e.g. no 4th amendment right to prohibi searches according to current Supreme Court.

  9. Ronny says:

    We certainly don’t need more laws, just some changes. One change is a MUST. NO EXCEPTIONS. I have seen cops doing 40 to 50mph ant talking on cell phones.. NO EXCEPTIONS MEANS NOBODY USES CELL PHONES WHILE DRIVING. It’s very easy to pull to the side of the road and talk all you want.

  10. Can i use my beeper says:

    Will this include police fireman and all city workers Because I know for a fact being a city or goverment worker does not make you a better driver.If it is good for one has to be for all
    Need to put cellphone blockers in cars only way it will work

  11. Justice says:

    I don’t agree with a full ban of cell phone use in the car. I agree on harder and stiffer for fines for onew who use their phone without a non hand free device. There are many other distractions that impact a person when driving, such as eating, reading, or children can sometimes be a distractions.

  12. Bklyn mom says:

    I drive to and from work for an hour and I talk to friends on my hands-free phone to keep myself awake sometimes. I think that it keeps me MORE alert than if I was sitting in traffic, tired, after a long day’s work, and my eyes were closing!
    There are a ton of people who are stll usng hand held phones – some of those are policy officers and other “official” people, and others are people I see in shopping mall parking lots getting in and out of spots, not paying any attention to where they are going. I don’t see anyone policing them. So any new law will be totally useless, like someone already mentioned.

    1. Bklyn mom says:

      * police officers.

  13. louis says:

    Laws are only valuable and effective if they are enforced…and can be enforced. Not a day goes by where I don’t see countless drivers talking on hand-held cellphones. It’s illegal, but almost impossible to enforce. Unfortunately, new laws will be useless.

  14. jerseyjoey says:

    Well Well, the liberal do goods are at it again, Hands free is fine, there is no solid proof or evidence that it affects your driving concentration, after all if these idiots pass a law banning cell phone use in hands free mode on the argument it causes a distraction then as i see it, a passenger , your kids in the back seat or your wife talking to you in your vehicle are far more distracting than a hands free phone, You liberals going to ban them next, please move to the EU and take a few of your liberal friends with you.

    1. Realist says:

      Well, we hardly need more government, and this goes too far, but this is not a liberal issue.
      Why don’t you just oppose the ban with some of your stupid Buckleyite Neo-con friends with you

    2. paulnadra says:

      New Party game. See how many times Joey can say liberal in one post.
      On to the topic. It has been proven that one uses a different part of the brain when talking to someone in person, as opposed to taling on a cell phone, so yes, you are more distracted.
      Having said that, I am not in agreement with the total ban. It is unenforicable and it throws out the baby with the bathwater.

      1. jerseyjoey says:

        LOL ok, i realy did not think anyone in the new cloud era gave a rats what my posts said, golly mr divit, um ok you do have a point, I do find myself Liberal bashing a tad much, but just a tad mind you. So your point taken, i will now use the word progressive, it is a liberal but a slow paced constitutional rights nipper over time but just as dangerous as the good ole Left of Lenin LIberal.

    3. Michael H. says:

      joey, the State Senate is under Republican control. This is a Senate panel looking into the ban.The chair of the State Senate Transportation committee is a Republican, Charles Fuschillo, Jr.

      Don’t even bother with the “no true Scotsman” reply, claiming they’re still liberals anyway. Nobody is buying your bull.

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