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Views from Ohio on NTSB’s proposed cell phone ban for motorists

The view of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) on cell phone use while driving is well known.

Last week the agency made it official and broadly disseminated it by announcing with requisite fanfare its recommendation for a flat prohibition on all cell phone use — including communicating via hands-free models — in every state across the country. NTSB officials say that such a move, excepting an allowance for emergency use, would result in a sharp reduction of car accidents and other mishaps on the road.

Views from across Ohio — a state that presently has a law concerning motorists’ cell phone use that is more lenient than statutory enactments in many other states — in response to the announcement differed widely, although most people weighing in with an opinion take issue with the NTSB’s stance.

“I could see myself violating that ban,” said one, a young woman in her 20s. “It would cost a lot of time and money to enforce.”

Many others agree, including state legislators. One of them, State Rep. Kirk Schuring, R-Jackson Township, calls the proposed ban an “overreach.”

Another — State Sen. Joe Schiavoni, D-Canfield — says that, “I don’t understand where you draw the line.” Schiavoni says listening to a car radio, conversing with a friend or eating a sandwich all potentially constitute equally distracting behaviors.

Ohio law enforcement officials state that driver inattentiveness is unquestionably a growing problem, but they agree that consistent detection of violators and enforcement of such a law would be problematic.

Source: Canton Repository, “Drivers here blast federal call for nearly blanket ban on cell phones” Robert Wang, Dec. 19, 2011