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NTSB fights distracted driving with full cell phone ban

Earlier this year, the National Transportation Safety Board recommended that state lawmakers enact bans of cell phone use in semi trucks, buses, and other commercial vehicles. Now, the NTSB has expanded its previous recommendation, asking for a universal ban of cell phone use of any kind in every vehicle on the road. This will hopefully reduce and ultimately eliminate car accidents caused by distracted driving, officials say.

NTSB recommendations are not law, of course, but officials are hoping that the move will at least open the topic for discussion in many states. Currently, New Jersey is one of 35 states that ban texting behind the wheel, and one of nine that have enacted a ban of all hand-held cell phone use while driving. Under the proposed NTSB ban, even the use of hands-free cell phone devices would be banned, except in emergency situations.

According to the NTSB, cell phone use behind the wheel has increased dramatically in recent years, and that trend is likely to continue. At any given moment in 2010, about one in every 100 drivers on the road in the U.S. was using their cell phone to send a text or email or surf the Internet. This marked a 50 percent increase over the previous year's cell phone use behind the wheel.

In cities in which federal transportation officials have tested a universal cell phone ban, there was a significant drop in texting and phone use among drivers. However, current restrictions have proven difficult to enforce, so it remains to be seen whether police departments will find better ways to uphold the proposed full ban if it is enacted.

If you have been injured in an auto accident caused by another driver's irresponsible cell phone use, please contact Breslin & Breslin for a free consultation.

Source: CBS News, "NTSB: Ban all driver use of cell phones," Dec. 13, 2011

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