With 3092 of last year’s on-road fatalities attributed to distracted driving, the National Traffic Safety Board is recommending a ban on all cell phones and electronic devices used while driving.
Not long after completing an investigation of an Aug. 2010 case where a 19-year-old collided with a semi-truck after driving distracted, the NTSB issued its recommendation. In that instance, the driver sent and received a total of 11 text messages in 13 minutes before colliding with the tractor trailer, which, in turn, led to two school buses running into the accident. The accident killed the 19-year-old and a 15-year-old on one of the buses in addition to injuring 38 others.
“Too many people are texting, talking, and driving at the same time,” said NTSB chairperson Deborah Hersman in a hearing. “It’s time to put a stop to distraction, No call, no text, no update is worth a human life.”
Her support goes toward ending use of cell phones for any purpose, including hands-free calling, in addition to any other devices. Recently, infotainment systems like Ford’s MyFord Touch and Sync systems, as well as the upcoming Cadillac Cue with OnStar, have touted the fact that they would not only be able to call hands-free, but they will also have access to smartphone apps like Facebook and Pandora.
Each state is allowed to set its own driving laws with 30 states already banning ear-to-phone talking while driving. Despite last year’s statistics showing traffic fatalities to be down to their lowest point since 1949, the board has shown little give in the way of its requests.
Automotive.com’s take: Some states have little congestion. Others have dense populations of people who practically live in their cars. No one set of legislation fits every state. So why should our driving laws be the same? The NTSB should realize that rather than nannying states to strengthen their restrictions, it should let the states figure out what fits best for them. If it wants to lobby for stronger regulation, we’d more be in favor of more stringent regulations for drivers to be licensed in the first place.
Source: Automotive News (Subscription required)