Signup for our free newsletter:

Republican Congressman Wants to Ban Cell Phones

Written By Jeff Siegel

Posted February 11, 2014

obnoxphoneRep. Bill Shuster thinks it’s the government’s responsibility to stop people from being annoying.

I’m serious. He actually said those very words while defending a bill that would ban American citizens from talking on cell phones on commercial airplanes.

Now I’ll be the first to admit it. The last thing I need is some loud-mouthed yenta babbling away for three hours while I’m trying to enjoy my Jack & Coke and the latest edition of the SkyMall catalog.

Flying is stressful enough. Non-stop cell phone chatter is certainly something I can do without.

That being said, does the government really have the right to ban people from using cell phones on airplanes because such a thing is annoying? Shuster thinks so, telling reporters. . .

“This is about people not being obnoxious and annoying in the air space. At the end of the day, this is all about social discourse. You’re in an environment on an airplane that’s close quarters. You’re captive, and the last thing people want to hear is some salesman making a pitch to a client or a father scolding his child or a husband and wife having an argument.”

While I share Shuster’s distaste for annoying and obnoxious cell-phone yakkers, I do not share his enthusiasm over letting the government decide whether or not someone has the right to be annoying and obnoxious in this manner.

Seems to me, the market can figure this out.

Get enough complaints from customers about cell phone blabbermouths, and restrictions will be put into place. You can count on that. In fact, JetBlue and Delta already have bans on in-flight cell phone conversations.

FCC Chairman said it best when he said, “I don’t want the person in the seat next to me yapping at 35,000 feet any more than anyone else. But we are not the Federal Courtesy Commission.”

Currently, the “Prohibiting In-Flight Voice Communications on Mobile Wireless Devices Act of 2013” has 29 co-sponsors from both sides of the aisle.

As a side note, I’d like to pose the question: Which is more obnoxious and annoying? Someone gabbing away on a cell phone on an airplane or lawmakers that have enough time to push this kind of legislation, yet can’t seem to do much to stop the destruction of the U.S. dollar or end unwinnable wars in the Middle East. Food for thought.