EDITORIAL Faamay relax rules for electronics use
The Federal Aviation Administration is poised to retreat fURP D ORnJVWDnGLnJ SROLFy WKDW LV ZLGeOy flRXWeG DnG KDV XnGeUPLneG SXEOLF UeVSeFW fRU flLJKW VDfeWy LnVWUXFWLRnV.
The agency is prepared to relax its ban on the use of electronic devices during airplane takeoffs and landings and beORZ 10,000 feeW ZKen D SODne LV Ln WKe DLU.
At least that’s what The Wall Street Journal reported recently, saying an FAA advisory panel has concluded the SROLFy LV RXWGDWeG DnG VKRXOG Ee UeYLVeG.
:e KRSe LW LV. ,W’V Eeen REYLRXV WR DnyRne ZKR KDV flRZn in recent years, for example, that some airline passengers, by accident or conscious decision, fail to power off their SRUWDEOe GeYLFeV DV LnVWUXFWeG Ey flLJKW DWWenGDnWV.
3DVVenJeU VXUYeyV OLNeZLVe FRnfiUP WKDW D VLJnLfiFDnW PLnority of travelers regularly break the rules, often inadverWenWOy.
But if leaving on electronic devices at takeoffs and landings is truly dangerous, why hasn’t such behavior created problems for pilots?
Well, apparently because both modern on-board technology and the portable devices that passengers carry on have advanced to the point that many experts believe the risk of LnWeUfeUenFe LV PLnLPDO RU SeUKDSV nRnexLVWenW.
The FAA’s advisory panel isn’t expected to offer recommendations on cellphone use, the Journal reported, meaning only electronic readers, computers and other such devices ZRXOG Ee DffeFWeG. BXW eYen DOORZLnJ JUeDWeU XVe Rf WKRVe devices alone would be a major step toward saner regulaWLRn. $nG WKe -RXUnDO VDyV WKe DGYLVRUy SDneO EeOLeYeV FeOOSKRne XVe neeGV WR Ee DGGUeVVeG DV ZeOO.
The New vork Times, which picked up the story, quoted an unnamed panel member who said smartphones may indeed be swept into a recommendation for “wider use of devices during takeoff and landing, including tablets and VPDUWSKRneV XVeG RnOy fRU GDWD (OLNe ePDLO) EXW nRW WDONLnJ.”
Obviously passenger convenience never should be alORZeG WR WUXPS flLJKW VDfeWy. BXW exFeVVLYe FDXWLRn XVeG to justify overly restrictive rules can be a problem, too, because it breeds public resentment and resistance — which is WKe VLWXDWLRn WKDW exLVWV WRGDy.
The Atlantic’s James Fallows, a private pilot as well as a journalist, has described the admonition to power off all eOeFWURnLF GeYLFeV DV “SXUe WKeDWeU,” nRWLnJ WKDW “Rn DOO ‘nRnDLUOLne ELJ DLUFUDfW’ flLJKWV, OLNe SROLWLFDO FKDUWeUV RU FRUSRUDWe MeWV, SeRSOe OeDYe WKeLU ‘GeYLFeV’ Rn WKe ZKROe WLPe, DnG LW neYeU FDXVeV D SUREOeP.”
We wouldn’t go so far as to describe the power-off routine DV “WKeDWeU,” EXW LW GReV DSSeDU WR neeG XSGDWLnJ, DnG Ze’Ue enFRXUDJeG WKDW WKe )$$ LV SUeSDUeG WR finLVK WKe MRE.
21st Century Media News Service