Yep you read that right! The NTSB has just recommended a full ban on cell phone use while driving!  And I’m all for it. The ban would NOT apply to hands-free devices or to passengers of those cars. The CNN article says it doesn’t apply to hands-free but the MSNBC article says it does. So I’m confused..

Here’s a quote I can 100% agree with and have been saying all along:

“No call, no text, no update, is worth a human life,” Deborah Hersman, chairwoman of the National Transportation Safety Board, said at a news conference in Washington.

Now if we can only get them to ban applying makeup, shaving, reading etc while driving then we might actually be safe on the roads!

EDIT: Here’s the official statement or PR from the NTSB on this:


No call, no text, no update behind the wheel: NTSB calls for nationwide ban on PEDs while driving

December 13, 2011

Following today’s Board meeting on the 2010 multi-vehicle highway accident in Gray Summit, Missouri, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) called for the first-ever nationwide ban on driver use of personal electronic devices (PEDs) while operating a motor vehicle.

The safety recommendation specifically calls for the 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. The safety recommendation also urges use of the NHTSA model of high-visibility enforcement to support these bans and implementation of targeted communication campaigns to inform motorists of the new law and heightened enforcement.

“According to NHTSA, more than 3,000 people lost their lives last year in distraction-related accidents”, said Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman. “It is time for all of us to stand up for safety by turning off electronic devices when driving.”

“No call, no text, no update, is worth a human life.”

On August 5, 2010, on a section of Interstate 44 in Gray Summit, Missouri, a pickup truck ran into the back of a truck-tractor that had slowed due to an active construction zone. The pickup truck, in turn, was struck from behind by a school bus. That school bus was then hit by a second school bus that had been following. As a result, two people died and 38 others were injured.

The NTSB’s investigation revealed that the pickup driver sent and received 11 text messages in the 11 minutes preceding the accident. The last text was received moments before the pickup struck the truck-tractor.

The Missouri accident is the most recent distraction accident the NTSB has investigated. However, the first investigation involving distraction from a wireless electronic device occurred in 2002, when a novice driver, distracted by a conversation on her cell phone, veered off the roadway in Largo, Maryland, crossed the median, flipped the car over, and killed five people.

Since then, the NTSB has seen the deadliness of distraction across all modes of transportation.

  • In 2004, an experienced motorcoach driver, distracted on his Hands-Free Cell Phones failed to move to the center lane and struck the underside of an arched stone bridge on the George Washington Parkway in Alexandria, Virginia. Eleven of the 27 high school students were injured;
  • In the 2008 collision of a commuter train with a freight train in Chatsworth, California, the commuter train engineer, who had a history of using his cell phone for personal communications while on duty, ran a red signal while texting. That train collided head on with a freight train – killing 25 and injuring dozens;
  • In 2009, two airline pilots were out of radio communication with air traffic control for more than an hour because they were distracted by their personal laptops. They overflew their destination by more than 100 miles, only realizing their error when a flight attendant inquired about preparing for arrival.
  • In Philadelphia in 2010, a barge being towed by a tugboat ran over an amphibious “duck” boat in the Delaware River, killing two Hungarian tourists. The tugboat mate failed to maintain a proper lookout due to repeated use of a cell-phone and laptop computer;
  • In 2010, near Munfordville, Kentucky, a truck-tractor in combination with a 53-foot-long trailer, left its lane, crossed the median and collided with a 15-passenger van. The truck driver failed to maintain control of his vehicle because he was distracted by use of his cell-phone. The accident resulted in 11 fatalities

In the last two decades, there has been exponential growth in the use of cell-phone and personal electronic devices. Globally, there are 5.3 billion mobile phone subscribers or 77 percent of the world population. In the United States, that percentage is even higher – it exceeds 100 percent.

Further, a Virginia Tech Transportation Institute study of commercial drivers found that a safety-critical event is 163 times more likely if a driver is texting, e-mailing, or accessing the Internet.

“The data is clear; the time to act is now. How many more lives will be lost before we, as a society, change our attitudes about the deadliness of distractions?” Hersman said.

A synopsis of the NTSB report, including the probable cause, findings, and a complete list of the safety recommendations, will be available online after the meeting.

The NTSB’s full report will be available on the website in several weeks.







    • I knew the Anti-government whack jobs would be out about this one…     The problem is not being told what to do, it’s about people dying because of stupid people using their phones while driving. I might not feel so strongly about this if JUST the driver died, but these people are taking 25, 30 or more with them as well. If the driver just died then I’d chalk it up to evolution and it weeding out the dumb ones, but that’s not it at all is it?  These people that cause the accidents because they’re too busy talking are killing numerous people as well as themselves, and that’s just wrong. 

  1. Calling someone names, (e.g., anti government whack jobs) means they won the argument on merit. 

    Cars themselves are the single largest cause of death in the US, I suspect, so no driving whatsoever would be the logical conclusion based on Kristofer’s arguments.  You know that won’t fly, but the “Beam me up, Scotty” solution isn’t gonna happen anytime soon either.

    So what is a short term answer?  How about we pay for voice only systems (which now exist by the way) for both making or accepting a call AND for texting – including send receive and composition.  Taking and sending a picture of a crime or accident in progress poses a tougher challenge, but even then there are extant audible solutions. 

    Solutions, not invective! 

    • Just to clarify, I wasn’t necessarily calling him a whack job, it was more of a generalization as to what I expect to happen now that there’s talk of this sort of thing happening.
      That aside I can see you’re obviously one of those people that drive while talking, texting, emailing, and browsing the web and doing whatever else instead of driving and paying attention to what’s going on around you. How can I tell? Well you didn’t mention anything about the loss of life caused by people driving while using the phone. So it’s obvious you condone the actions and you’re one of those people that think you’re a perfect driver and think you can multi-task while driving. I got news for you, nobody’s perfect, especially when it comes to phones and driving. 

      • Actually, your characterization of Deryl is unsubstantiated.

        On GMA this morning, the reporter said “Many of the 3,000 accidents per year blamed on Distracted Driving can be attributed to cell phone use.”

        The part that is troubling is the justification of “Distracted Driving.”

        My kids are a bigger distraction than any phone can be. 

        The justification for this proposal is overly broad, and opens the door to some serious misapplications.  And don’t try to trot out “common sense,” because there isn’t any in a bureaucracy.

        I am curious to know how it is that cellphone use is increasing exponentially, when the number of accidents has not.

        I would think private sector deterrents would be more likely to work without opening a window for abuse. For instance, allowing insurance companies to jack up rates for drivers who are caught texting — or doubling tort claims in civil suits.

      • I have kids and I agree they are a distraction, but nowhere near a distraction as texting, checking your email, dialing your phone, or browsing the web while you’re driving.  When you’re doing those things you’re not looking at the road. I don’t know about you but I don’t have to take my eyes off of the road to tell my kids to shut up and be quiet, so kids are a bad example of a distraction I think. At least for me they are. 
        As far as ‘common sense’, it has nothing to do with bureaucracy, it’s the common sense that people lack that is the problem. It’s common sense not to take your eyes off of the road while driving, but people still do it because they think that phone call, text or email is more important than their lives and the lives of everyone around them. In short they lack common sense, so I think someone has to force some common sense onto them and this seems to be the only way to do that. Obviously education and campaigns against these things have not worked, so there’s not much left to do really. I posted not long ago that people are actually texting MORE now that there’s a ban on it, that makes no sense at all to me.Now as far as insurance companies jacking up rates, the problem there is that most people get caught when they’re in an accident and then people have already died. What are you going to do jack up the rates of the dead person?  I don’t think that will work. Tort claims in civil suits? What are the surviving people going to do, sue the families of the drivers who was texting and killed their relatives? I go back to my original question that I’ve always asked? What did you do before cell phones were as popular as they are now?  We lived without them in our cars for decades so why can’t we live without them now if it’s going to save a few lives. 

        I can make a sure win bet that if someone in your family was killed by a driver who was talking or texting on the phone you’d all change your attitude about it…..

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