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Offered by Brighton resident Gregory R. McMahon, Esq.

Every January, the Federal National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) puts out a list of most wanted safety improvements. In 2016, the most controversial proposal is likely to be a ban on hands-free phones while driving. This means that drivers could NOT use their cell phones even with Bluetooth or other technology.

States across the nation have already taken action to limit texting while driving as well as holding a cell phone while driving so that drivers could keep both hands on the wheel. But now the Feds are recommending this even more sweeping restriction.

Proponents of the Ban: Christopher Hart, the Chairman of the NTSB, has said, “Current laws that ban handheld, but not hands-free, use can foster a belief that hands-free devices are safely used while driving.”

Others believe that if drivers were to simply focus on driving, with both hands on the wheel, that accidents, injuries and deaths would be prevented.

Opponents of the Ban: Opponents argue that as long as the driver has both hands on the steering wheel, what difference would it make if the driver were talking on a hands-free phone or to his or her passengers? Opponents would also argue that this ban would be completely unenforceable.

This author practices criminal, not constitutional, law. However, as an attorney, this author has questions about whether or not the federal government has the right to prohibit drivers from talking inside their own cars. What if a parent were driving and needed to call a child?

The information in this column is not legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship.

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