Official statement by Scott Knight, President of Pro.Fit International.
This statement is in response to the NTSB proposal to ban cell phone use while driving.
(See Official Press Release by National Transportation Safety Board)
As an industry professional of nearly 25 years, the issue of driving and using a cell phone has never
been a wise combination. Fact is, it is impossible to control what drivers do behind the wheel, unfortunately this issue is about those that just can not discern what is wise and safe vs. the "I can – so I will" attitude. That being said, it makes good sense to get the temptation (phone) out of the hands of the driver by encouraging it to be mounted. Indeed we are in the business of making mounts, however it isn’t about making a perfect bracket, it is about the convenience and safety of the driver, his passengers and for those
driving on the road next to him.
Is banning cell phone use right or wrong? This issue does not need to be government controlled,
but more so, we believe it is each drivers responsibility to make good decisions.
We know and strongly believe there are options available. For starters, a mounted electronic device
provides a number of benefits, but is one of the most practical solution for getting a device out of the
hands of the driver. The temptation to answer a call or text is extremely strong if the device is in your hand. Mounting it allows the driver to see that a new message has arrived or identify who is calling.
At that very moment is the decision time, do I take the call or not, do I reply or not,
do I tend to my driving and deal with it later. I liken this scenario to the plate of
freshly baked, warm cookies set in front of you.
Few have the self-discipline to resist. The same goes for the cell phone, if it is in your hands and rings,
few will resist.
The idea of 'mounting' your phone frequently makes for improved performance, and
without question is more convenient when using the GPS features.
In general, we simply do things because we can
. The multitude of features and capabilities of today’s electronics can not be ignored. "I am going to load 25,000 songs on my iPod, why, because I can".
The 'whys' don’t register or the fact that it may take a year to listen to all that music really doesn’t matter. We call or text while driving because we can
, and sadly, 'why' doesn’t register here either.
Therefore the “I can - so I will” scenario plays out with potentially deadly consequences.
Many will argue that changing a radio station or eating in your car is equally distracting. Is it fair to restrict just cell phone use? I see a huge difference in the level of distraction between your car radio and
a new electronic gadget. Your traditional car radio offers little in the way of new fangled features
compared to what a smart phone has. Car radios may be labeled as boring since they have changed very little in probably 40 years, nothing like the changes in phones. Because of this I see little intrigue by a driver to play with their radio like they would a new phone. Both can be labeled a driver distraction, but how often and to what level are very different in my opinion.
It may also make good sense for software developers and application developers to create features that disable the texting or calling features of the phone while moving. Again, it is impossible to control the drivers that can not discern what is wise and safe vs. the "I can – so I will" attitude.
There are options available today! There are also options to be explored and developed. These ideas, along with stiff fines/penalties, could go a long way in avoiding a repeat of another 3,000 deaths. We hope drivers make wise and safe choices - because they can
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