Itasca, IL – The National Safety Council applauds the National Transportation Safety Board which today announced it is recommending that states enact bans on all nonemergency use of cell phones and portable electronic devices by motorists. NTSB came to its recommendation after investigating a multi-vehicle crash in Gray Summit, Mo. that involved a driver who was texting. The crash, which occurred on Aug. 5, 2010, killed two people and injured 38 including children in two school buses.
NTSB also recommends states adopt high visibility enforcement campaigns to ensure the effectiveness of bans. Additionally, NTSB calls for increased public awareness campaigns to inform motorists of the new ban and its enforcement as well as to warn motorists of the dangers associated with the nonemergency use of portable electronic devices while driving. And lastly, the wireless industry is encouraged to develop features that disable the functionality of a driver’s cell phone while the vehicle is in motion.
“This recommendation by NTSB is a national call to action to end distracted driving due to cell phone use. This is a growing public safety threat that needs to be addressed by legislators, employers and every person who operates a motor vehicle on our nation’s roadways,” said Janet Froetscher, president and CEO of the National Safety Council. “Whether handheld or hands-free, drivers should not be using cell phones while driving. Research shows hands-free devices offer no safety benefit to drivers because the cognitive distraction still exists.”
NSC estimates 1.3 million crashes, or 23 percent of all crashes, involve distracted drivers using cell phones. “Quantifying crashes and fatalities involving cell phone use while driving is challenging due to several factors such as a driver’s unwillingness to admit the behavior and lack of witnesses. Additionally, cell phone use currently is not consistently captured on police reports. We are able to develop an estimate of crashes based on risk and exposure, but the problem could be much larger than we estimate,” Froetscher said.
“Making citizens safer is one of the most important roles of government,” Froetscher said. “We are hopeful that legislators across the nation will recognize the value of NTSB investigations and recommendations and take the necessary actions proposed by NTSB to make our roadways safer for everyone.”
About the National Safety Council
Founded in 1913 and chartered by Congress, the National Safety Council (nsc.org) is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to save lives by preventing injuries and deaths at work, in homes and communities, and on the road through leadership, research, education and advocacy. NSC advances this mission by partnering with businesses, government agencies, elected officials and the public in areas where it can make the most impact – distracted driving, teen driving, workplace safety and safety in homes and communities.