Ban on Mobile Phone Use While Driving Called for in the U.S.Jan 28th, 2012 | By Michael Bittner | Category: Analysis, News and Notes
The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recommended in December that states enact bans on all nonemergency use of mobile phones and portable electronic devices by motorists while driving. The NTSB made its recommendation after investigating a multivehicle crash in Gray Summit, Missouri that involved a driver who was texting. The crash, which occurred on August 5, 2010, killed two people and injured 38 others, including children in two school buses. The NTSB’s investigation revealed that the driver who started the chain-reaction crash had sent and received eleven text messages in the eleven minutes preceding the accident.
The NTSB also recommended that states adopt high-visibility enforcement and public awareness campaigns. The wireless industry was encouraged to develop features that disable the functionality of a driver’s mobile phone while the vehicle is in motion.
Vehicle Safety Statistics
The NTSB reported that more than 3,000 people lost their lives last year in distraction-related incidents. Meanwhile, the National Safety Council estimated that 1.3 million vehicle crashes, or 23 percent of all crashes, involved distracted drivers using cell phones. These numbers could be higher because of several factors, including a driver’s unwillingness to admit the behavior, a lack of witnesses at the accident scene, and the inconsistent recording of cell phone use on police reports.
Related Articles in the EHS Journal
- Distracted Driving Overview
- Distracted Driving: States that Restrict Cell Phone Use and Text Messaging. This article includes helpful maps showing mobile telephone and text messaging restrictions.
- Vehicle Safety Video – Keep Your Eyes on the Road!
- Winter Driving Tips
About the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board
The NTSB is an independent U.S. government investigative agency responsible for civil transportation accident investigation. In this role, the NTSB investigates and reports on aviation accidents and incidents, certain types of highway crashes, ship and marine accidents, pipeline incidents, railroad accidents, and hazardous material releases that occur during transportation.
About the National Safety Council
Founded in 1913 and chartered by the U.S. Congress, the National Safety Council is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to save lives by preventing injuries and deaths at work, in homes and communities, and on the road through leadership, research, education, and advocacy. The NSC advances this mission by partnering with businesses, government agencies, elected officials, and the public in areas where it can make the most impact—distracted driving, teen driving, workplace safety, and safety in homes and communities.
About the Author
Michael Bittner, CPEA, is a senior partner in the Boston, U.S.A. office of Environmental Resources Management and editor of the EHS Journal. He specializes in global EHS solutions including
- Compliance and management systems auditing
- EHS management systems implementation and design
- Sustainability solutions
- Mergers and acquisitions support
Mr. Bittner is a member of the Board of Directors for the Auditing Roundtable.
Photograph: Storm by David Ritter, Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.A.