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No Calls, No Texts, No Tweets, No Nothing: NTSB Calls for Ban on PEDs While Driving

About two years ago, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration launched a website called "," the "Official US Government Website for Distracted Driving." The purpose of the site is to help educate the public on the dangers of distracted driving. The site closely tracks state laws governing distracted driving, listing, for example, the nine states (plus D.C. and the Virgin Islands) that prohibit drivers from using handheld cellphones while driving, and the 35 states that ban text messaging for all drivers.

The site notes that currently there is not a single state that bans all cellphone use (handheld and hands-free) for all drivers, but that may soon change dramatically if a recommendation by the National Transportation Safety Board is followed. On Tuesday, the members of the NTSB voted unanimously in support of "the first-ever nationwide ban on driver use of personal electronic devices (PEDs) while operating a motor vehicle." 

Specifically, the NTSB's recommendation "calls for the 50 states and the District of Columbia to ban the nonemergency use of portable electronic devices (other than those designed to support the driving task) for all drivers." NTSB's chairman stated that "more than 3,000 people lost their lives last year in distraction-related accidents. It is time for all of us to stand up for safety by turning off electronic devices when driving. No call, no text, no update, is worth a human life."

The NTSB is an independent federal agency charged with determining the probable cause of transportation accidents, promoting transportation safety, and assisting victims of transportation accidents and their families. The Associated Press reports that although the NTSB doesn't have the power to impose such a ban, "its recommendations carry significant weight with federal regulators and congressional and state lawmakers."

What do you think? Is this all-out ban too much? Would an exception for hands-free calls be appropriate, or at least a more acceptable starting point given that not a single jurisdiction appears to have such a ban at this time?

Posted by Bruce Carton on December 14, 2011 at 01:31 PM | Permalink | Comments (4)


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