Is it time to totally ban cellphones from cars? This issue has been raised on a federal level, the dangers of any kind of cell use are being documented and it sounds as if this is beginning of a new movement that could eventually prevail:
The federal agency charged with overseeing transportation safety recommended Tuesday that US states should forbid the use of all cellphones and other portable electronic devices by drivers.
The five-member, National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) agreed unanimously to the recommendation as the number of accidents attributed to cellphone use rises. Perhaps the most dramatic was a fatal highway pileup in Missouri in 2010, in which a 19-year-old driver sent or received 11 texts in the 11 minutes before the crash.
“Driving was not his only priority,” said NTSB Chairwoman Deborah Hersman. “No call, no text, no update is worth a human life.”
The restrictions would exceed any existing state laws that limit drivers’ cellphone use – for texting, web-surfing, or talking – because they would apply to both hands-free and handheld devices. The board has no power to impose restrictions, however, meaning that any new rules would have to come from states, Congress, or federal regulators. But the NTSB is seen as being very influential.
“This is an expert agency which is considered important and is trying to make transportation safer, so even though it can only recommend, it will be taken very seriously,” says Carl Tobias, professor at the University of Richmond School of Law. “Following through devolves back on the states and what their legislatures are willing to do.”
“It’s amazing to me that despite the growing evidence to the contrary, people continue to think this is not dangerous,” Professor Tobias says.
So far nine states ban cell phone use while driving. As the tragic evidence grows, this issue could pick up steam.