updated 05:25 pm EST, Tue December 13, 2011
NTSB wants to ban handheld device use by drivers
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) on Tuesday revealed it wants to use its power to try and ban the use of cellphones and other portable electronic devices by drivers across the whole of the US. All five members of the board agreed on the measure, which wouldn't even allow hands-free phones to be used and is therefore the least lenient state law that restricts texting and cellphone use while driving. The decision was prompted by a highway pileup in Missouri back in 2010 that was caused by a 19-year-old driver who received 11 texts in 11 minutes right before the crash. The crash involved a tractor trailer and two school buses. It killed two and injured 38 others.
The NTSB on its own can't impose restrictions, but can influence federal regulators along with congressional and state lawmakers. Thus far, 35 states have laws in place that forbid texting while driving. Without strong enforcement, the NTSB believes such laws aren't very effective. Missouri had a law in place that banned drivers under 21 from texting behind the wheel, but this wasn't very aggressively enforced.
The NTSB has previously recommended bans on texting and cellphone use by commercial truck and bus drivers as well as beginning drivers. [via SeattlePI]