Due to the dangers of distracted driving in causing deadly motor vehicle accidents, the National Transportation Safety Board recommends a ban on all cell phone use in vehicles, according to an announcement made on Wednesday.
Texting, emailing and making calls is simply too dangerous to be allowed, the five member board determined unanimously. Their recommendation would even apply to hands-free phones, and is stricter than any state cell phone driving law.
Currently, Georgia law bans texting while driving for all drivers as well as any cell phone use at all for teenagers and school bus drivers. The Board’s recommendation would only allow cell phone use in emergency situations. While the Board does not have the power to enact any federal laws, its recommendations carry weight with with federal and state lawmakers.
According to Safety Board Chairman, Deborah Hersman, such a ban would certainly be unpopular, but “we’re not here to win a popularity contest,” she said. “No email, no text, no update, no call is worth a human life.”
A survey of more than 6,000 drivers by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reveals half of drivers ages 21 to 24 have sent texts or emails while driving, and 2 in 10 Americans overall have done so.
A deadly highway crash in Gray Summit, Missouri last year involving several vehicles and two school buses was the result of texting while driving and was the reason for the Board’s investigation. The 19-year-old pickup truck driver who caused the accident was found to have sent and received 11 texts in 11 minutes. Two people were killed in the wreck, including the driver of pickup causing the chain reaction and a 15-year-old student who was riding on one of the school buses. Thirty-eight others were injured.
Thirty-five states and the District of Columbia have banned texting while driving, and D.C. and nine other states have prohibited the use of hand-held cell phones. A spokesman for the Governors Highway Safety Association agreed that “states aren’t ready to support a total ban yet, but this may start the discussion.”
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