Wednesday, December 14, 2011

NTSB Recommends Banning All Cell Phone Use While Driving

If Legislation Is Ever Adopted It Would Be Up To Each State To Decide

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – It’s a stunning recommendation from a federal traffic safety agency.

The National Transportation Safety Board is calling for a nationwide ban on behind the wheel cell phone use — even with hands-free devices.

It’s the NTSB’s version of you can’t walk and chew gum at the same time. It is now saying you shouldn’t be allowed to drive and talk on the phone at the same time. And it made a non-binding recommendation that all 50 states to impose a ban, reports CBS 2′s Marcia Kramer.

It’s a frightening fact: Your car travels the length of a football field in the time it takes to send the average text.

“It may seem like it’s a very quick call, a very quick text a tweet or an update, but accidents happen in the blink of an eye,” NTSB Chairwoman Deborah Hersman said. “You can’t take it back. You can’t have a do-over and you can’t rewind.”

The NTSB wants a national ban on talking and texting behind the wheel — even if your car is equipped with a hands-free device. And it has statistics to back up its concerns about the growing distractions for drives of all types of vehicles.

The agency says:
* An estimated 3,000 people died last year in distracted driving crashes
* Drivers using cell phones fail to see up to 50-percent of the information in their driving environment
* A person using a cell phone is four times more likely to have a crash that will result in going to the hospital

Local drivers have mixed feelings about the recommendation.

“I think it’s a good idea. I used to be a police officer and I’ve seen so many accidents that were caused by people using their cell phones, and it’s been proven texting and cell phones, speeding, even with Bluetooth you can’t concentrate while you’re talking,” said Willie Hollenfer of Bergenfield, N.J.

“I’m more of a libertarian. I think you should be punished if you get into an accident after using a phone, but if you want to use a phone in a car you should be able to,” added Todd Jordan of Rowayton, Conn.

Sometimes I feel that it is really dangerous, actually, when I’m talking on the phone and driving, probably a good idea,” said Adriannz Cutler of Armonk.

“I guess it’s pretty smart. There’s a lot of accidents that are caused, but it is nice to have your hands-free,” Jeanette Gromko of Stamford, Conn.

Although the NTSB’s recommendation is non-binding lawmakers and governors take its findings seriously.

A spokesman for New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said his office is reviewing the agency’s report.

Do you believe that cellphones should be banned entirely or is this another case of Big Brother run amok?


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