Posted on Jan 03, 2012

A decade of investigations of distracted driving accidents has led the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) to urge states to make cell phone use by drivers illegal. This far-reaching recommendation is not based on past accidents caused by distraction, but on the exponential growth of electronic devices used in cars.
Deborah Hersman, chairwoman of the NTSB, recently declared: ”Every year, new devices are being released. People are tempted to update their Facebook page, or to tweet, as if sitting at a desk, but they are driving a car.” The NTSB also stated that "drivers faced serious risks from talking on wireless headsets, just as they do by taking a hand off the wheel to hold a phone to their ear."
Hersman is aware that the NTSB recommendation is not going to make them popular, but she compares distracted driving to drunken driving, and says a complete shift in attitude will be needed to bring down the alarming rate of accidents caused by distraction.
Today, nine states ban the use of cell phones while driving, and 35 states ban texting while driving. While the immediate reaction to the NTSB’s recommendation was that it stood no chance of being passed into law, safety and transportation observers agree that a rapid shift in mindset could be achieved, following the lead of some states.

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