Many states already ban using a phone for texting or accessing the Web while behind the wheel, or require a hands-free kit to make voice calls, but now the Nation Transportation Saftey Board has recommended a nationwide ban on all phone use while driving.
The NTSB calls for all 50 states and the District of Columbia to ban the nonemergency use of portable electronic devices (other than those designed to support the driving task) for all drivers. This includes drivers using a hands-free kit.
“According to NHTSA, more than 3,000 people lost their lives last year in distraction-related accidents”, said NTSB Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman. “It is time for all of us to stand up for safety by turning off electronic devices when driving.”
The government agency also calls on police to start enforcing current laws on texting or using a phone without a headset whiile behind the wheel.
Is a Total Ban Practical?
A large majority of Americans understand that texting while driving is not safe, but studies have shown that as many of 80% of people in this country have done it at least once. It’s illegal in 35 states, but enforment is sporatic at best.
The drivers-advocacy group AAA agrees that children under 18 should not be allowed to talk on the phone while driving, but only discourages adults from doing so.
AAA spokesperson Brian Newbacher said,”We’re focusing our advocacy efforts on what we believe to be more easily accomplished from a legislative standpoint. Support (of a ban on all phone use while driving) by legislators and our members just isn’t there yet.”