There are plenty of things that a driver can do to distract him/herself to a dangerous degree – texting, disciplining children, drinking beer, eating a meatball sub, etc. And while most people can agree that first thing on that list, texting, is a pretty unsafe rush hour activity, Americans are unsure about new regulations proposed by the National Transportation Safety Board.
Last month, the NTSB came out with sweeping recommendations to cure the problem of distracted driving, which they called “an epidemic.”
Those recommendations included a nationwide ban on cellphone use while driving. This means both texting (which is already banned in some states) and talking. Basic phone calls as well as “non required” activity like checking Facebook and Twitter would also fall under the ban. The kicker was that the NTSB didn’t limit their ban to handsets, but also included hand-free devices. The only exception that would allow a driver to talk on these devices is if they are part of a factory-installed system.
That last part is the focus of a study by market research firm Morpace, and it looks like its not going to sit too well with American drivers.
According to their research, 57% of consumers think that all hands-free devices should be legal.
This figure comes despite the fact that 64% of those surveyed said they are “extremely concerned” about distracted drivers and 30% said they are “somewhat concerned.” So more than 9 out of 10 people say that are concerned about dangerous road distractions, but over half fail to put hands-free units in that category.
But the same people aren’t really huge fans of the hands-free devices. Only 11% said they use them “very often” while 68% said they don’t use them often.
If such a law were to be put into place, 40% of those surveyed said they would be likely to buy a car with one to approved factory-installed hands-free devices. A mild conspiracy theorist can take that wherever they want.
I’m confident that if you asked Americans if they want their kid on the road with a drunk driver, a majority would say no. I’m also pretty confident that if you asked the same question, but this time changed it to a texting driver, the answer would remain no. But according to this study, Americans don’t mind sharing the road with a guy chatting with his mom on a Bluetooth device.
What do you think? Let us know in the comments.