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NTSB recommends banning phone use by drivers US-wide

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]

By Electronista Staff


  1. jameshays

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Mar 2003



    "caused by a 19-year-old driver who received 11 texts in 11 minutes"

    Did he just receive them or was he sending them as well? How did he cause this accident? What really happened that the truck driver and school bus drivers didn't have enough time to react to the situation. Were they following too close? What's the real cause here....

    In aviation, I see first hand the stupidity that comes out of the NTSB in order to save a life. Granted, all life is worth protecting, but you eventually have to realize that no law will protect against stupidity. A new law won't protect anybody in these cases. Just enforce the rules we already have. It's clear that a bunch of drivers failed to maintain directional control of their vehicles and one or more of them was probably involved in activities that created a reckless and dangerous environment resulting in death which in most states would constitute vehicular homicide. No new laws are needed here.

  1. Flying Meat

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Jan 2007


    That is excessive and

    unreasonable. Hands free use should be okay. Otherwise, you might as well do away with radios, cd players, cup holders, dashboard illumination dials, vanity mirrors, GPS systems,..

    There is undoubtably an accident associated with all of the above at some point.

  1. Eriamjh

    Addicted to MacNN

    Joined: Oct 2001


    I agree.

    That commercial drivers should NOT be allowed to even look at a mobile device while driving and I am pretty close to agreeing with it for regular drivers. However, I don't think that being on the phone is any more distracting that listening to the radio and if they want to ban that, they can go **** themselves.

  1. facebook_Aaron

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Dec 2011



    Fiddling with the radio and/or GPS is another major cause of traffic accidents. Why not ban those?

  1. climacs

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Sep 2001


    hands-free does not help

    the problem is that your attention is distracted from driving. There are many studies that show that the problem is not people looking away from the road ahead of them or traffic around them, though that certainly does not help. You can look right at the car looming ahead of you but if your attention is elsewhere, you are as impaired in your reaction response as a drunk is. This is an inescapable fact, but it's also a fact that everyone thinks they are a great driver and it's just the rest of the idiots on the road who are the problem.

  1. Flying Meat

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Jan 2007


    And passenger seats

    Gotta remove those too.

  1. jwdsail

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jun 2000



    You want to know what's *really* distracting?

    Having to slam on my brakes every-time some idiot runs a stop sign or stop light as I'm entering an intersection... Know what? 99% of them are NOT on the phone.. (side note, 50+% of them do have a kid's soccer team sticker on the tailgate)

    Idiots in-front of me that refuse to MERGE ... that refuse to get up to the speed of the traffic in the lanes being merged into.. that sometimes think it's a bright idea to f'in STOP rather than MERGE... Know what, most of these mental defects are also NOT on the f'in phone..

    Tailgaters that think I can speed up when there's 20+ cars in-front of me going just as slow. That ride my bumper so close they could lean out of their car and perform a s** act on my tailpipe... Again, 99% are NOT on the phone...

    Know what.. All of these types of drivers are far far more dangerous than ANYONE using a phone while driving otherwise responsibly... Why not police these real dangers FIRST, and take care of the imaginary ones later? (much later)

  1. apple4ever

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2001



    I love how one single accident is the reason they recommended this.

    You know what? What he did was reckless driving, and it was already against the law. That didn't stop him.

    Its the same as DUI laws- they won't reduce accidents or deaths.

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