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Interestingly, they DO have bans on certain electronic devices being operated by pilots, bus drivers etc....the operators. This makes sense, except that we did ban it for passengers, and DIDNT ban it for drivers of cars.

1. Haven't there been seat-back phones for like 25 years? Somehow the majesty of flight has remained untarnished.

2. I've always disliked the hands-free law, if people are going to be using cell phones anyway I'd rather be able to look and see who is on the phone and just steer away from them.

3. It's a bit of a stretch to refer to Vincent Orange as a "local official."

I used to take Amtrak to NYC all the time and I can tell you that the cars are full of people yammering on their phones, and sometimes even in the officially designated quiet cars. I've pretty much given up on taking the train because it was so unbearable.

I wouldn't object to emergency/5 minute phone calls to check on kids but let's face it, people figure they've got plenty of downtime so might as well call everyone they know in their contacts list.

You are right that it is insane to ban inflight calls for comfort reasons but allow people to drive two ton weapons while on the phone. If professional drivers (e.g., bus drivers) can't text/talk and drive, why can ordinary folks?!

I've heard people on very long cell phone conversations while using stationary bikes or ellipticals at fitness centers. Very annoying.

Some studies have shown that it's more distracting to hear someone on a cell phone than to hear two people talking nearby. Something to do with only hearing one side of the conversation, and maybe something to do with the tendency of many people to shout into their cell phones.

Some jurisdictions do prohibit handheld cellphone use, but enforcement is difficult. I continue to see drivers on handheld phones while driving, every day, even though that is prohibited. Enforcement would be easier for an inflight ban.

This is always going to be a problem with phone rules for car drivers. Many will just ignore the rule and escape punishment, until they cause an accident. (In that case, other people are likely to pay the price for the safety violation.)

Point taken, but please, no cellular voice comms on planes. Flying is hellish enough already and Kathy's comment about Amtrak is right, which is why they have quiet cars. The biomechanical factor adds only incrementally to the distraction of conversing telephonically while driving. The data are plentiful and convincing. However, this issue is like driving itself, guns, or environmental despoliation. Freedom to trumps freedom from every time.

I'm not sure which trains you ride. I find that riding in a train car that allows cell phone use is hellish, and I have heard people talk on a phone all the way from Baltimore to NYC. Loudly. I commute by train 2-3 times/week, and I try to sit in the quiet car whenever possible although, as another commenter noted, that doesn't always solve the problem of yakkers on their phones.

However, the main point of the post is well taken. How is the comfort and convenience of air travelers more important that the safety of road users, cyclists and motorists alike? The priorities are totally insane.

The important point is that even hands free phone use in a car is a problem, because the issue is attention and distraction. That needs to be reiterated again and again, and whether I agree or not about usage on planes, thats the bike (and ped - and yes, motorist safety) relevant point.

Oprah says she read a book and it was good,overnight it becomes a best seller. Oprah says she's tried a new diet and lost a pound,the diet products fly off the shelves. Oprah asks people to sign a pledge against talking on a cell phone while driving....and you hear crickets.

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