NTSB Requests Ban On Electronic Devices

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), after meeting to discuss a multi-vehicle highway accident in Missouri during 2010, called for a national ban on the use of personal electronic devices while driving.

One of the drivers involved in the accident reportedly received and sent a number of text messages in the minutes leading up to the accident, according to the NTSB investigation, including one seconds before. The series of collisions that followed resulted in two deaths and 38 injuries.

As envisioned by the NTSB, this ban would make exceptions for emergencies and for the use of devices designed to aid driving, such as a GPS. To support the call to action, the NTSB cited a Virginia Tech Transportation Institute study that reportedly found safety-critical events are more than 160 times as likely if a driver is texting or using the internet.

"According to NHTSA, more than 3,000 people lost their lives last year in distraction-related accidents," said NTSB chairman Deborah Hersman. "It is time for all of us to stand up for safety by turning off electronic devices when driving."

The NTSB also cited other accidents as evidence of the dangers distracted driving can pose, as well as instances of electronic devices distracting airline pilots, train engineers and a tugboat operator.

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