A nationwide cell phone ban will likely go into effect by the Federal National Transportation Safety Board, after a 2010 crash in Missouri in which the driver sent 11 texts in 11 minutes before the collision.
This cell phone ban is the most far-reaching sanction by the NTSB, reports CNN. The federal safety board has been attempting to limit the use of portable electronic devices for the past 10 years. If this law is passed, it will prohibit all use of devices - including hands-free - other than for emergencies.
In 2010, a 19-year-old pick-up truck driver involved in a deadly Missouri collision had sent or received 11 texts in the 11 minutes immediately before the accident, federal investigators revealed on Thursday.
The driver sent six texts and received five before crashing into the back of a tractor truck at 55 mph. This began a chain-collision that involved two school buses.
The AP reported that the pick-up truck texter along with a 15-year-old student on one of the school buses were killed. Thirty eight others were injured at the site near Gray Summit, Mo.
The accident is a big red flag for all drivers, NTSB chairman Deborah Hersman said during a meeting to determine the cause of the Aug. 15, 2010, accident and to advise safety recommendations for drivers. A cell phone ban is a logical, and necessary, step.
Hersman said that, though it is impossible to determine whether the pick-up truck driver was physically looking at or typing on his phone at the time of the crash, he was obviously manually, cognitively and visually distracted.
Driving was not his only priority, Hersman said. No call, no text, no update is worth a human life.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that at any given daylight moment, there are approximately 13.5 million drivers on their hand-held phones. About 3,092 roadway fatalities last year were caused by distracted drivers. However, that number could be much higher, said the NHTSA.
This (distracted driving) is becoming the new DUI. It's becoming epidemic, said NTSB member Robert Sumwalt.
This law would be the first comprehensive ban, as now only a hodgepodge of legalities is in place. The NTSB reports that 35 states ban text messaging while driving, 30 states ban cell phone use by novice drivers and 10 ban the use of all hand-held phones.
Needless lives are lost on our highways, and for what? Convenience? Death isn't convenient, Hersman said. So we can stay more connected? A fatal accident severs that connection.