A growing cause of motor vehicle accidents is cell phone use. According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), distracted driving, including driving while using a cell phone, was responsible for more than 3,000 fatalities in motor vehicle crashes in 2010. Texts, emails, and phone calls force drivers to take their eyes off the road for a second or two, with disastrous results.
Many states ban cell phone use to some degree. New York and New Jersey have some of the most restrictive laws in the country and prohibit even hands-free cell phone use. In short, drivers cannot even use headsets in this region of the United States. However, researchers have found that simply talking on the phone while driving – even if the driver is able to stay focused on the road – is distracting. Because of this and because of the patchwork of laws at the state level, the federal government should ban cell phone use entirely, argues the NTSB in a recent report on December 11, 2011. The Chairman of the NTSB, Deborah Hersman, said in a statement that, “No call, no text, no update is worth a human life.”
However, until the federal government acts, the NTSB says that states should enforce the safety laws already on their books. It also recommends that states conduct publicity campaigns about the dangers of cell phone and texting use.
Source: PC Magazine, “Agency Calls for Nationwide Ban on Cell Phones While Driving“, by Chloe Albanesius, Dec. 13, 2011.