More Restrictive Cell Phone Use Bans Sought by NTSB

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A “national epidemic” of deadly accidents has caused the National Transportation Safety Board to recommend a complete ban on cell phone and portable electronic device use while driving.

According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, more than 3,000 persons died in 2010 because of distraction-related accidents, National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Deborah Hersman said last December in calling for a 50-state total ban on the use of cell phones and other portable electronic devices. “It’s time to stand up for safety by turning off electronic devices when driving.”

The NTSB’s recommendation stemmed from its investigation into an August 2010 chain reaction wreck in Gray Summit, Mo. The driver of a pickup truck triggered the crash by slamming into the back of a big-rig. A school bus then rear-ended the pickup truck. And in turn, the school bus was hit by a second school bus.

Two people died. Thirty-eight others were hurt.

The NTSB investigation showed that the pickup truck driver had sent and received 11 text messages in the 11 minutes preceding the wreck. He received the last text moments before he hit the truck. The Press-Enterprise, 12 June 2012. 

Other deadly examples used by the NTSB include:

  • The 2008 Metrolink accident. 25 people killed, 135 injured when a commuter train collided with a freight train. The commuter train engineer was texting and ran a red signal.
  • 2010 Delaware tugboat. 2 killed when a barge ran over an amphibious vehicle. The first mate was distracted by cell phone use and “failed to maintain proper lookout.”

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