Itasca, IL – The National Safety Council applauds the National Transportation Safety Board recommendation to ban all cell phone use, both handheld and hands-free, by commercial motor vehicle drivers (except in emergencies). This ban is one of 15 new safety recommendations issued by NTSB this week.
The call for a cell phone ban for commercial drivers follows the investigation of a March 2010 crash involving an 18-wheel semi truck. The truck driver was cited with distraction from cell phone use as the probable cause of the crash that killed 11 people. The investigation found the truck driver had used his cell phone 69 times in the 24 hours prior to the crash, and four calls were made in the minutes leading up to the collision.
The National Safety Council estimates 23 percent of crashes involve cell phone use each year. According to the NTSB, because cell phone conversations cognitively distract drivers, shifting their attention from the task of driving and altering their behavior, both handheld and hands-free devices impair driving. The report also made a connection between the driver’s fatigue and the level of distraction provided by the cell phone.
“NSC strongly supports the NTSB recommendation for a total ban,” said Janet Froetscher, NSC president and CEO. “The Council called for a national ban on all cell phone use among drivers in 2009, recognizing that research shows no safety benefit from hands-free devices. The distraction to the brain from cell phone use can cause drivers to miss seeing up to 50 percent of their driving environment. The NTSB recommendation is a significant step in recognizing these dangers on a national scale.”
Read a synopsis of the NTSB report and download a white paper on understanding the cognitive distraction to the brain.
The National Safety Council (nsc.org) saves lives by preventing injuries and deaths at work, in homes and communities, and on the roads through leadership, research, education and advocacy.