NTSB Recommends Nationwide Cell Phone Ban

By Max Resnik

December 14, 2011 Updated Dec 14, 2011 at 7:26 PM EDT

INDIANA (Indiana’s NewsCenter) – The National Transportation Safety Board recommended Tuesday to ban all hands-free and hand-held devices nationwide while operating a vehicle.

Under the recommendation, devices like OnStar and Sync, services installed by car manufacturers, could still legally be used.

The NTSB is recommending that all states adopt legislation to cut down on the number of accidents and fatalities seen nationwide as the result of distracted driving.

Mike Wolf, Ph.D., Professor at IPFW, says the NTSB cannot force congressional legislation. Instead, Wolf says the Federal Government can force states into adopting this legislation by threatening to withhold federal dollars for state highway maintenance and projects.

“The only way for it to take federal law would be to coerce states through withholding federal highway funds or save other grants to move them in that direction.”

Wolf says the process of withholding a state’s funds is a proven process and one that worked to create stricter legislation when it came to DUI laws. He says that if a nationwide ban on using cell phones while operating a vehicle is to take effect, a group as substantial as Mothers Against Drunk Driving might have to form and lobby the government.

Wolf says any ban comes down to reformers at the state level. He says this is a fight that will most likely begin with incremental steps to eventually secure a nationwide ban.

“It will probably be a patchwork implementation as it goes and most likely driven by reformers at the state level.”

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says more than 3,000 roadway fatalities were the result of distracted driving in 2010.

One member of the NTSB called distracted driving the new DUI and an epidemic.

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