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Fri, Dec 14, 2012

McCaskill to Huerta: Fix Electronic Device Rules Or Face Legislation

Senator Urges FAA To Change Rules Preventing Use Of Electronic Devices During Flight

U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) has sent a letter to FAA acting administrator Michael Huerta urging the agency to allow expanded use of electronic devices during air travel as the FAA convenes a committee specifically designed to evaluate in-flight policies.

"We live in an increasingly connected world, and information is traveling at the speed it takes our email to refresh," McCaskill (pictured) said. "The current rules are inconvenient to travelers, don't make sense, and lack a scientific basis. Airline employees have the incredibly important job of keeping us safe in the air-their efforts are better spent worrying about rules that actually accomplish that goal."

Current rules do not allow portable electronic devices (PEDs) to be used for the full duration of a flight. In McCaskill's letter to acting FAA chief Michael Huerta, she highlights the flaws in the existing rules by pointing out that the FAA acted earlier this year to allow airlines to replace their paper flight manuals in the cockpit with tablet computers. Other government officials, including Federal Communications Commission Chair Julius Genachowski, have also pushed the FAA to change their current rules regarding PED use.

Noting that FAA rules have been too slow to change in the past, McCaskill's letter suggested that if the FAA does not act on this issue in a timely manner she is "prepared to pursue legislative solutions."

McCaskill is a member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, which has jurisdiction over communications and aviation policy.

FMI: http://mccaskill.senate.gov, www.faa.gov

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