Ford backs nationwide cellphone ban for drivers

The automaker has endorsed a bill that would prohibit all US motorists from using handheld phones while driving.

By TheStreet Staff Jul 12, 2011 12:36PM

Image: Driver on cellphone (© BananaStock/Jupiterimages)By Ted Reed, TheStreet


Ford (F) has become the first U.S. automaker to back a nationwide ban on the use of handheld cellphones by drivers.


Ford is endorsing a proposal by Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D., N.Y.) for national legislation. While most states have imposed limitations on cellphone use by drivers, the federal government has not acted.


"Ford endorses Rep. McCarthy's legislation because it represents a practical, commonsense approach to a national problem," said Pete Lawson, Ford's vice president of government affairs. "Distracted driving is an important issue, and that's why Ford became the first automaker to support proposed legislation banning handheld texting while driving in 2009 and why we are proud to support Rep. McCarthy's legislation that will ban using handheld devices while driving."


Ford believes that "drawing drivers' eyes away from the road -- whether (by) text messaging, manually dialing a cellphone or reading maps -- substantially increases the risk of an accident or near misses," Lawson said.

In general, U.S. automakers have backed legislative efforts to restrict handheld phone use by drivers, although GM (GM) and Chrysler have not specifically endorsed the McCarthy legislation.


"GM has been way out in front for years, among our employees, states and consumers, with a simple message of put the phone down and drive," GM spokesman Greg Martin told The Detroit News. "We're still doing our part, but we're not certain what meaningful effect a federal ban would have at this time, as these issues typically reside with state and local enforcement," he said.


Introduced in June, McCarthy's Safe Drivers Act of 2011 directs the U.S. Transportation Secretary to establish minimum regulations that ban driver use of handheld mobile devices on public roads. Voice-operated systems are excluded. The bill also requires the DOT to conduct a study on distracted driving and to recommend appropriate standards and penalties.

"Driving while making a phone call, texting or using apps can be as dangerous as driving drunk, and much more common," McCarthy said.


Ford shares were up 0.1% at $13.33 Tuesday afternoon.


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Jul 12, 2011 10:16PM
Good for Ford.  I can't stand those a__holes talking on their phone while driving.  Going 40 in a 60 zone or worse yet, going 75 in a 55 and jabbering on the cellphone.  Flip them off if you get a chance because they deserve at least that.
Jul 13, 2011 10:46AM

Ford is talking out their a$$. I just rented a Ford Edge for the week and it had an overload of information screens and menus. The steering wheel had multiple buttons two arrow key pads that controlled two different in dash screen menus, a big center dash touch screen with tons of options, controls and setting menus. All distracting to driving if  you ask me.

Jul 12, 2011 9:28PM

Cell phone driver's should be punished more severely than drunk drivers; especially if they are sober enough to know better while driving and texting/talking. 


If they are texting and or talking while drunk and driving, then the punishment should be even more severe.


It's time to get serious with the driving cell users.  They should be making a more honest effort to watch the road while driving. 


Maybe now they can also form a group of Mothers Against Cell Driver's.  Ooops! That would probably mean putting themselves in jail also. 

Jul 12, 2011 1:41PM

What a silly statement:

Ford believes that "drawing drivers' eyes away from the road -- whether (by) text messaging, manually dialing a cellphone or reading maps -- substantially increases the risk of an accident or near misses," Lawson said.


Save for very few car malfunctions ALL accidents are caused by a lack of attention.

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