[StBernard] NTSB: Ban All Cellphone Use While Driving

Westley Annis westley at da-parish.com
Tue Dec 13 22:57:05 EST 2011

NTSB: Ban All Cellphone Use While Driving

Federal safety board recommends that all states impose total ban, except for

Insurance Networking News, December 13, 2011

Pat Speer
The National Transportation Safety Board said today that texting, emailing
or using a cellphone while driving has been proven to be too dangerous to be
allowed anywhere, and recommends that all states impose a total ban, except
for emergencies. The recommendation would also apply to hands-free devices,
the federal safety board said.

Like what you see? Click here to sign up for Insurance Networking News
weekly newsletter to get the latest on breaking industry news, carrier
technology implementations and developing business and technology trends.
The NTSB noted a recent deadly crash in which a teenager sent or received 11
text messages in 11 minutes before being involved in an accident.

The unanimous recommendation by the five-member National Transportation
Safety Board noted that it would make an exception for devices deemed to aid
driver safety, such as GPS navigation systems.

Should the recommendation become reality for all states, the implications
for insurers could be huge, say research analysts.

"There is some evidence that links cell phone use to accident frequency, so
that's a good thing for auto insurers in terms of claims frequency," Matthew
Josefowicz, principle with New York-based analyst firm Novarica, told
Insurance Networking News. "Anything that reduces accident frequency is a
good thing for auto carriers."

Board chairman Deborah Hersman acknowledged the recommendation would be
unpopular with many people and that complying would involve eliminating what
has become ingrained behavior for many Americans.

"We're not here to win a popularity contest," she said. "No email, no text,
no update, no call is worth a human life."

The NTSB bolstered its recommendation with the example of a deadly highway
pileup near Gray Summit, Mo., last year in which a 19-year-old pickup driver
sent and received a flurry of texts just before the accident.

The NTSB doesn't have the power to impose restrictions, but its
recommendations carry weight with federal regulators as well as
congressional and state lawmakers, say experts.

The latest research indicates two out of 10 American drivers overall
participate in texting while driving-and half of drivers between 21 and
24-say they've thumbed messages or emailed from the driver's seat, according
to a recent survey of more than 6,000 drivers by the National Highway
Traffic Safety Administration.

However, the survey found that many drivers don't think it's dangerous when
they do it-only when others do.

In response to the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board's
recommendations released today, CTIA - The Wireless Association President
and CEO Steve Largent issued this statement:

"CTIA and the wireless industry agree that when drivers are behind the
wheel, safety should be their number one priority. Manual texting while
driving is clearly incompatible with safety, which is why we have
historically supported a ban on texting while driving. As far as talking on
wireless devices while driving, we defer to state and local lawmakers and
their constituents as to what they believe are the most appropriate laws
where they live."

More information about the StBernard mailing list