The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has called for the first-ever nationwide ban on driver use of personal electronic devices while operating a motor vehicle. The NTSB was drawn to this conclusion following their most recent investigation of an accident in 2010 that resulted in 2 deaths and a total of 38 persons injured. There have been more than 3,000 deaths resulting from distraction-related accidents.
In 2002, the NTSB investigated their first distraction-related accident resulting in the death of five people. Since then, there have been several accidents across all modes of transportation including the collision of a commuter train with a freight train. The most appalling accident listed in the NTSB Fact Sheet is the accident that occurred last year when a tugboat ran over a “duck” boat in the Delaware River killing the two tourists on the boat.
The NTSB has called on the 50 states and the District of Columbia to ban the non-emergency use of PEDs except those designed to support the driving task for all drivers. New Jersey was among one of the first states to ban talking and texting on a hand-held cell phone while driving and possibly has the toughest violations already in effect. Currently, motorists must use a hands-free device while talking and texting is completely prohibited. School Bus operators and drivers under the age of 21 are prohibited from using cell phones all together. If death occurs from a driver using a cell phone, it is considered reckless driving and penalties include time served in prison with fines up to $150,000.
For more information about this recommendation from the NTSB, you can visit their website at www.ntsb.gov.