Banning Cell Phone Use by Drivers Nationwide
"The N.T.S.B is an independent federal agency responsible for promoting traffic safety and investigating accidents. The agency's recommendation is nonbinding, meaning that states are not required to adopt such a ban."
The recommendation was issued after a Dec. 13 meeting to investigate a deadly crash on August 5, 2010, in Gray Summit, Missouri involving a commercial truck and two school buses caused by pickup-truck driver who was texting.
"As part of its recommendation, the agency is urging states to ban drivers from using hands-free devices, including wireless headsets.
Deborah Hersman, chairwoman of the N.T.S.B. said she understood that this recommendation would be unwelcome in some circles, given the number of drivers who talk and text. But she compared distracted driving to drunken driving and even smoking, which required wholesale cultural shifts to change behavior.
State Senator Joe Simitian of California, who succeeded in getting a law passed in 2006 that bans drivers there from talking on a hand-held phone, called the board's recommendation "a wake-up call about the dangers of distracted driving" but added, "I don't believe you'll see such a ban in my lifetime." Simitian's bill to ban texting was signed into law two years later.