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Should Personal Electronic Devices be Banned in the Cockpit?

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Laptop keyboardLawmakers are champing at the bit to introduce new legislation banning personal electronics in the cockpit after the two Northwest Airlines pilots revealed that they were working on their laptops when they overshot their destination last month.

Reducing distractions for pilots seems like a no-brainer, but would these new laws actually hinder future safety advancements on planes?

The Senate is currently considering a bill called the Distracted Flying Act, which would ban the use of personal wireless devices and laptops on the flight deck of commercial aircraft.

Proponents of the bill have garnered support by comparing this behavior to the detestable habit of texting while driving.

Meanwhile, critics have pointed out that the Federal Aviation Administration already has rules on the books that prohibits pilots from engaging in distracting activities during flights.

The Air Transport Association has also warned that such a bill could leave pilots behind the curve as technology evolves and prevent them from having access to the best safety tools.

Many airlines are currently in the process of replacing paper maps and manuals with new electronic devices that would allegedly provide more up-to-date weather and runway information. Some airlines even outfit each pilot with a laptop to help with takeoff and landing calculations and store flight manuals.

What do you think? Should pilots be allowed to use laptops in the cockpit, or do they just offer too many opportunities for distractions? Leave us some comments below.

By Dan Bence for PeterGreenberg.com.

Related links: USA Today, WashingtonWatch.com

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