Laws To Ban Texting While Underway
The issue of texting while driving is no secret to anyone these days. It’s a dangerous and careless thing to do. But, when driving a boat is the case, it is a much less talked about issue, yet has proven to be equally dangerous. There is a strong push for the texting laws of the road to expand and include the waterways. Laws to ban texting while underway have become a hot button issue.
As reported by UnitedMarine.net “A recreational boating statistics report for 2012 listed operator inattention as the leading cause of accidents on the water. According to a Coast Guard statistic, out of 4,730 reported boating accidents in a recent year, 23% involved either “operator inattention” or “improper lookout.” Although a broad category, it is by far the largest contributor to boating accidents.”
Distracted Boaters Costs Lives
These are very alarming statistics and they have caused quite a stir in the legislative world. The National Transportation Safety Board has called for legislation and tight controls on the use of electronic devices on the water. They point to the evidence suggesting that cell phone and other electronic device usage while navigating through busy waterways creates hazards similar to those on the road. This is in fact the case as many serious accidents have been documented as being caused by cell phone use distracting the driver. There have been an alarming amount of lives lost already.
According to unitedmarine.net , former NTSB Chairwoman Debbie Herman was quoted stating, “The use of wireless devices while operating vehicles in any mode of transportation poses an unacceptable distraction. Lives are being unnecessarily put at risk and lost. The agency is requesting that the Coast Guard tighten restrictions on cell phone use by its officers. It also would like the Coast Guard to work with the NTSB and issue a broad safety advisory to the entire maritime industry warning of the dangers of using cell phones for calling or texting while aboard an underway vessel.”
The Coast Guard Puts Down Their Phones
Due to these concerns and discussions, the Coast Guard has prohibited the use of cell phones by anyone operating their boats and have restricted cell phone use for other crew members. This is the first step in creating further legislation possibly leading to a cell phone ban for anyone driving a boat or personal water craft.
While many people are cheering on this legislation, looking for any way to make the water safer for their friends and family, others disagree. Many say that it is not an issue that any amount of legislation can fix, and it’s common sense and awareness that will fix the issue. It looks as if right now we will have to wait and see. One thing is for certain, we can all do our part in making the water and the roads more safe by putting down the phone.