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News

Watch Out, Drivers: NTSB Wants To Ban Cell Phone Use (Even Hands-Free) While At The Wheel

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Photograph by Artpose Adam Borkowski / Shutterstock
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The National Transportation Safety Board has recommended that cell phone use while driving should be banned while driving. The NY Times reports, "The recommended ban applies to hands-free devices, a recommendation that goes further than any state law to date. The agency said it is recommending that drivers be allowed to use their phones for emergency purposes."

NTSB chairman Deborah A. P. Hersman said, "No call, no text, no update is worth a human life," and noted that the number of accidents and fatalities due to distracted driving was too much to ignore, "This is a difficult recommendation, but it’s the right recommendation and it’s time."

The NTSB's recommendation came during a meeting to discuss a 2010 accident in Gray Summit, Missouri where the 19-year-old driver of a pickup truck sent 11 texts in 11 minutes, including one before hitting a Volvo truck-tractor. Then one school bus hit the truck and another school bus hit the first one: "As a result of this accident sequence, the driver of the GMC pickup and one passenger seated in the rear of the lead school bus were killed. A total of 35 passengers from both buses, the 2 bus drivers, and the driver of the Volvo tractor received injuries ranging from minor to serious. Eighteen people were uninjured."

California's hands-free cellphone use law went into enforcement July 1, 2008. A few months later, a study found that the data showed no impact on the frequency of crashes. As a Bay Area judge reminded one cited motorist, the hands-free law applies even when you're stopped at a light.