Driving Today

NTSB’s Plan to Ban Driver Cell Phone Use Gains Supporters

Call for the ban of driver cell phone use prompts positive comment.

The recent recommendation by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) to ban driver cell phone use has generated a groundswell of support. FocusDriven, an organization created to increase public awareness of cell phone use and the dangers it poses to drivers, immediately issued a statement praising the NTSB. Nationwide, a major auto insurance company, also issued a statement in support of the NTSB, though it did not call for a complete ban on driver cell phone use.

For the record, the NTSB recommended that all states enact bans on all nonemergency use of cell phones and portable electronic devices by motorists. This recommendation follows a similar recommendation issued late last year, which called for a ban on the use of mobile phones by commercial drivers and was issued by the NTSB following its investigation of a crash in Munfordville, Ky. That incident, which involved a commercial truck driver who was talking on his hands-free device, resulted in 11 fatalities. Interestingly, the recommendation did not come from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which is the federal agency in charge of auto safety.

“We are pleased to see NTSB make this recommendation, which underscores the disastrous effects of driving while distracted -- especially the very common distraction involving the use of mobile communication devices,” says Rob Reynolds, executive director of FocusDriven. “Our survivor advocate network has felt the aftermath of this driver behavior firsthand, and it has forever and irrevocably changed their lives. With this recommendation, NTSB is now leading the way in raising the level of urgency about dealing with the growing number of distracted drivers who are mentally, physically and visually impaired by the use of mobile phones and their related functions.”

Nationwide says it supports the enactment and enforcement of state laws banning texting and the use of handheld cellular phones by drivers. It believes more research needs to be done regarding drivers’ use of hands-free devices.



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