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U.S. Dept. of Transportation Wants to Disable Phones in Cars

Article Comments  73  

Nov 29, 2010, 7:27 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   @zeman_e

Raymond LaHood, the Secretary of Transportation, says that the U.S. Department of Transportation wants to make it impossible to use cellular phones while in moving vehicles through the use of blocking technology. "I think the technology is there," said LaHood. "And I think you're going to see the technology become adaptable in automobiles to disable these cell phones." The move is being considered due to the rising number of traffic deaths (~5,500) and injuries (500,000) that result each year from distracted driving. Right now, there are no federal laws to prevent drivers from using cell phones, though a number of states and municipalities have enacted such legislation. LaHood, however, doesn't think the laws are a big enough deterrent. LaHood indicated that jamming equipment wouldn't be used, but instead the Department of Transportation is considering software solutions from companies such as Zoomsafter, tXtBlocker and iZup, which disable certain phone features when it is determined that they are in a moving vehicle. LaHood didn't provide any sort of time frame.

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Nov 29, 2010, 7:44 PM

so when I cant cal 911..

or day care cant call and tell me something is wrong with my child or any one millions of possibilities and things that DO happen while in your car US depart of transportation think thats okay? Its not going to happen. SO many lawsuits would hit that it wouldnt last long.
Not to mention the fact that being in a moving vehicle does not mean you're driving it.

Seriously its stupid ideas like this that make people so anti government. Next thing you know everyone is so pissed off its impossible to pass a net nuetrality...
More brainiacs wasting my hard-earned tax dollars. Ugh.
Agree here with everyone - public transportation (buses, trains) are all motor vehicles under the code. What if you're a passenger? Now you can't use the phone? Ridiculous approach here. Great point here about emergency calls too, both the 911 and...

Nov 30, 2010, 2:08 PM

Has Anyone Developed a Petition Yet?

Let's see...

*I can't call the local sheriff to say I'm hurt or someone else was just in an accident.

*My passengers are stuck listening to radio because they can't use Pandora.

*I'm stuck with $200 worth of bluetooth equipment I bought so I could call/text LEGALLY.

*My passengers can't text/call their friends and family.

*AT&T Navigator and Google Navigation are now useless while driving, you know, when I need them.
These are just three reasons this will never happen.

Passengers can and will continue to use their phones while in others vehicles. And there are lots of folks who use their phones as their primary GPS device while driving. And of course, many al...

Nov 30, 2010, 12:44 AM

I understand his position, BUT...

I really do understand where this guy is coming from. I've seen plenty of idiots out there yakking away on their cell phones while they do incredibly stupid things with their vehicles. I've even ridden with a friend who is one of those people, completely oblivious to the road when she's on her phone, which is a lot. So I understand what he's trying to accomplish. However, this doesn't seem like a good solution. First, something like this is going to require changes in both handsets and vehicles in order to work. I suspect that it would require that each vehicle have a transponder of some sort that tells a compliant phone that it is moving, which makes the phone alter the way it handles calls and texts. OK, fine, but what kind of chang...
I think its lazy legislation. Trying to blanket everyone, rather than making law enforcement actually watch for these things. I know if I received a $500 ticket for talking on my phone while driving I wouldnt do it again.

Nov 30, 2010, 5:39 PM

what about navigation?

If my phone ceases to function in my car, how will I use my VZNavigator?!? I'll be lost all the time! Oh no! ๐Ÿ‘€
You would have to pull over and you a fold out mad or ask for directions. old school.

Nov 29, 2010, 8:24 PM

What about passengers?

How would this blocking technology discern between a driver's cell phone and a passengers? It wouldn't? FAIL!!!
That is EXACTLY what I was thinking... Amen to the FAIL.
I suppose you could in theory get surgical enough with GPS or some other proximity sensors in the car to only disable the phone that's in the driver's seat. But..then all you have to do is put the phone on speakerphone or Bluetooth and throw it in the...
OmegaWolf747 said:
How would this blocking technology discern between a driver's cell phone and a passengers? It wouldn't? FAIL!!!

But, sadly, telling you how I did it would jeopardize my patent-ability.


Dec 1, 2010, 10:48 AM

U.S. Consumer Public Wants to Disable Common-Sense while Driving

When was the last time anyone has seen someone put 100% focus and attention on the road in front of them?
Distractions will be a part of everyday life whether it be behind a motor vehicle or at the job.

Nov 30, 2010, 9:45 PM


Next if this does not work is charging everyone DUI for it. Driving under influence of being too chatty.

A police radio is just as distracting as a cell phone
Jonathanlc2005 said:
A police radio is just as distracting as a cell phone

Yeah, but you're forgetting that Law Officers believe that they are above the law instead of servering and protecting the law. But hey, they...

Nov 29, 2010, 10:53 PM

Where have I seen this before?

I was thinking the same thing!!

Nov 29, 2010, 8:02 PM

Ban Kids

Then ban kids, car stereo, eating, and talking to someone in the car. All just as dangerous according to AAA.
I'm kidnapped and I'm locked in the trunk of a car but I cant call 911 because you've disabled my phone. How does no one ask these questions.

Nov 30, 2010, 12:14 AM

Has anyone thought...

to ask if those of us who have used cell service (in my case for nearly 19 years) have ever had an accident or close call. I've have had hands free, phone to the ear and blue tooth and no problems. You have to pay attention to the road first and your call is secondary or less. Less government is a good thing. If I need a babysitter, I'll let you know.
That's good for you, but you are not in the majority. I cannot tell you how many times I have been cut off or otherwise put into a dangerous situation by drivers on their cell phones. I don't think a technology-based ban is exactly the solution, but...

Nov 30, 2010, 12:48 AM

Gimme A Break...........

I'm still bitching about the mandatory seat belt laws for adults while motorcycle drivers can go riding without helmets. Now they want to take away my cell phone? ๐Ÿ‘ฟ Time to ban drive-thru windows and car stereos.I guess to the DOT driving should be like being in a MRI chamber with windows.
Why is it ok to use headset while driving but not holding phone to ear? So you can put both hands on wheel? Ban cars with manual tranmission next? Cuz you putting the other hand on the stick?

Nov 30, 2010, 4:33 PM

Y'all can start hating me now, if you didn't already

I've known one too many innocent people killed by distracted drivers. If you don't, you're not old enough. I take things like this personally.

For several months now, I've been stewing over a handset level, software based solution to restrict drivers from using cellular devices without affecting the ability of passengers or mass transit users to operate their devices. It would also allow white-list functionality to support GPS systems and Pandora while disallowing high distraction services like SMS and non-emergency calling. It would also be easy to implement at the service provider level for wider, faster deployments.

So far, the results are very, very promising. My modeling looks great. I just need to find a crew with be...
As long as its a nice reasonable solution like the one your proposing i actually see no problem with it.
I personally hate that the government has to enforce something like this tho. i really wish people would stop being so selfish and start acting...
flip mode

Nov 30, 2010, 1:32 PM

dep of transportation can sit and spin

all the lies they want, i call B.S on them and say they have gone too far and I will be the first one to circumvent it and to join in to thwart their attempts to pass it into law. YOU WILL NOT TELL ME WHERE I CAN AND CAN NOT USE MY OWN PROPERTY THAT I PAY FOR. COMMUNIST DICTATORS!! ๐Ÿ˜ˆ ๐Ÿ‘ฟ ๐Ÿ˜ˆ ๐Ÿ‘ฟ

Nov 30, 2010, 10:02 AM

Here's the TRUTH of the matter

When politicians position things such as this, they don't really expect the idea to come into fruition. They want to bolster an alternative viewpoint that will seem more approachable by conveying an extreme.

Seriously, blocking technology sounds very dangerous if something goes wrong. Also it sounds very expensive to implement and the payoff isn't foreseeably worth it. In addition, what about passengers in a vehicle? They aren't even driving and have to be punished? Noooooooo.

The idea here is for people to say, " Gosh that's so extreme, I wouldn't mind a ban on using cell phones if an officer sees you but ... clearly not this".

Let's see how success he will be in this
80dollarcarcharger said:
When politicians position things such as this, they don't really expect the idea to come into fruition. They want to bolster an alternative viewpoint that will seem more approachable by conveying an extreme

Nov 30, 2010, 9:04 AM


I will be voting against my Congressman if he votes for this bill.
your a dem in a rep ran state, your gonna be voting against them anyways!!!!

Nov 30, 2010, 9:52 AM

I Told You!

I told all of you when you were talking about how great blocking of cell service in prisons was that the government would soon look to block coverage in other places. There were so many comments mocking me.

What happens when this technology is deployed? What happens when a passenger wants to use a device? How far do the 20 something bloggers here want the government to get into their lives?
Give the state a little power and soon it will want a little more.

Nov 30, 2010, 10:06 AM

I love how they

they don't actually say 5,000 deaths and 500,000 injuries cause people use their cell phones while driving, they say distracted drivers which in turn means a lot of different things then just using your cell phone, ie: eating, putting make up on, fumbling through cds, etc...
The phone is just the thing in the spotlight now because it's new. Car radios have been around for decades, so are sacrosanct.

Nov 30, 2010, 10:08 AM

would this work?

what about a cell blocking technology that blocks all cell phone transmissions on the drivers side under the panel that works up to 1 foot from the driver. i agree that some people shouldnt drive and talk at the same time and i do it too, so im to blame too, but they need to get off this and stop making the US a police state.

i think i did more damage when i was messing with the satellite radio then my cell phone
Not really, because with a speakerphone someone could get around it by keeping the phone on the passenger seat or in the back. Studies indicate that headsets and speakerphones don't reduce distracted driving that much.

Keep in mind, they're lookin...

Nov 30, 2010, 9:29 AM


Just have the government fund OnStar on every single vehicle in the US and pay for the yearly fee ๐Ÿ˜ then that's the law we're talking about!
That reminds me, they'd have to block onstar too. Imagine their pushback on this.

Nov 30, 2010, 7:55 AM

It is possible to disable government while driving?

Just a thought
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