Cell Phones and Driving Don’t Mix, Says NTSB

Posted by · December 13, 2011 3:36 pm

In a 5-0 vote, the National Transportation Safety Board decided Tuesday that all states should be urged to pass legal bans on driver use of cell phones and all other handheld electronic devices. The news comes in an announcement released by the NTSB, which based its recommendations on a close study of a massive collision that took place in Gray Summit, Missouri, last year.

Speaking directly to the fifty states and the District of Columbia, the NTSB states, “Ban the nonemergency use of portable electronic devices (other than those designed to support the driving task) for all drivers.”

According to a New York Times report, the NTSB recommendation includes any cell phone use, even if it’s relegated to hands-free use. The only exception: emergency use.

Discussing the board’s decision, NTSB chairperson Deborah Hersman held, “No call, no text, no update is worth a human life.” Although she was willing to admit that it was a “difficult recommendation,” Hersman maintained that the timing and nature of the recommendation could not be better.

Ultimately, this recommendation is precisely that—a recommendation. State governments will ultimately have to decide for themselves whether such a ban would be appropriate and whether the severity of such a ban must be to the extent that the NTSB suggests.

Currently, not a single state has a ban on driver cell phone usage that meets the criteria proposed by the board.

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