While many states have adopted bans on texting while driving, the acceptance for a total ban on portable electronic device use while driving has not caught on to the same level. The National Transportation Safety Board called for such a ban last December in response to mounting evidence that cell phones are a growing cause of serious car and truck accidents. The Vice Chairman of the NTSB is testifying on that recommendation for the New York State Senate Committee on Transportation today as part of the effort to gain the support of lawmakers across the nation.
The NTSB has not focused solely on the impact of cell phones on our nation's roadways. Cell phones have been linked to aviation accidents, boating disasters, railroad accidents and other transportation incidents. Cell phones have caused dozens of fatal accidents and led to hundreds of injuries. With cell phone use rising steeply, the problem of distracted driving is only likely to increase. The NTSB has been the leader in gathering evidence about distracted driving and cell phone use.
The reluctance of lawmakers to ban all cell phone use while driving is not hard to explain. While the generation many legislators belong to has not embraced texting as a form of communication, most are as reliant on their cell phones as anyone. Some hold up hands-free devices as a safe compromise, despite the NTSB's findings that any distraction from the job of operating a motor vehicle is unsafe.
When the NTSB sets its sights on banning a dangerous behavior, it has a strong record of success. While seat belt use was once sporadic at best, it is now an accepted responsibility, embraced by every state. The NTSB has chosen to take on another fight in the name of transportation safety. Drivers who care about their safety should heed their advice and encourage their representatives to adopt the NTSB recommendations.
Source: ENews Park Forest, "NTSB Vice Chairman Testifies On Nationwide Ban On Driver Cell-Phone Use," 10 February 2012