NTSB Calls For Federal Ban On Cellphones While Driving
This is the latest move in the agency's ten-year trend of limiting the use of electronic devices while driving, CNN reported. If the recommendation is adopted by states, it would ban the non-emergency use of cellphones while driving. The ban would include talking, texting and emailing. It would be the most far-reaching restriction to date.
35 states currently ban texting while driving, and 9 restrict hand-held phone use. Many states ban cellphone use for new drivers as well.
Tuesday's recommendation was motivated by a series of deadly crashes involving cellphone use, according to the Missourian. In a crash last year, a 19-year-old driver sent and received 11 text messages in 11 minutes before causing a fatal pile-up on Missouri's I-44 which included two school buses.
According to the Wall Street Journal:
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported earlier this year that pilot projects in Syracuse, N.Y., and Hartford, Conn., produced significant reductions in distracted driving by combining stepped-up ticketing with high-profile public education campaigns.
Before and after each enforcement wave, NHTSA researchers observed cellphone use by drivers and conducted surveys at drivers' license offices in the two cities. They found that in Syracuse, hand-held cellphone use and texting declined by a third. In Hartford, there was a 57 percent drop in hand-held phone use, and texting behind the wheel dropped by nearly three-quarters.
However, that was with blanket enforcement by police.
The board's decision to include hands-free cellphone use in its recommendation is likely to prove especially controversial. No states currently ban hand-free use although many studies show that it is often as unsafe as hand-held phone use because drivers' minds are on their conversations rather than what's happening on the road.
The NTSB's recommendation comes on the same day researchers at Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit released analysis of distracted driving studies. Researchers found the crash risk to be elevated, citing problematic methodology, Time reports.
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