Push for total in-car cell ban

2011-12-15 06:22

NEW YORK - Sending an SMS, emailing or chatting on a cellphone while driving are simply too dangerous to be allowed, US federal safety investigators have declared and urged all states to impose total bans except for an emergency.

Inspired by recent deadly crashes - including one in which a teenager sent or received 11 text messages in 11 minutes before an accident - the recommendation would apply even to hands-free devices.

The unanimous recommendation by the five-member National Transportation Safety Board made an exception for devices deemed to aid road safety, such as GPS navigation systems.


A group representing state highway safety offices called the recommendation "a game-changer". Jonathan Adkins, a spokesman for the Governors' Highway Safety Association, said: "States aren't ready to support a total ban yet, but this may start the discussion."

Driving rules and limitations in the US are, generally, the job of the state legislatures, even on federally built roads such as the interstate highway system.

NTSB chairwoman Deborah Hersman acknowledged the recommendation would be unpopular with many people and said complying would involve changing what has become ingrained behaviour for many Americans.


While the NTSB lacks the power to impose restrictions, its recommendations carry significant weight with federal regulators and congressional and state lawmakers. Another recommendation urges states to enforce aggressively current bans on text messaging and the use of cellphones and other portable electronic devices while driving.

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

Only some states have banned SMS-ing while driving; nine states and the District of Columbia have banned handheld cellphone use. Thirty states ban all cellphone use for learner-drivers.

But, as in South Africa, enforcement in the US is generally not a high priority, and no states ban the use of hands-free devices.


  • Fredster - 2011-12-15 08:08

    I agree. Come to SA and see the amount of drivers texting while driving

  • Fred - 2011-12-15 08:21

    This would be a fantastic move and will save many lives. There should be a clamp down on anti social cellphone use like they clamp down on smoking. Some people cannot even walk straight using a cellphone and their use has become as addictive as drug use. One only has to watch the addicts when an airplane lands. Shaking hands, and waiting for the signal that will allow them to take their first call.

  • my10cent - 2011-12-15 09:10

    At last someone is showing the way - SA will probably follow 200 years later?

  • mlucejko - 2011-12-15 09:36

    I fully agree with that... I have seen soo many drivers that are on their Cel-phones and clearly they are not fully in control of their car...

  • Simon - 2011-12-15 12:16

    Its time for the auto makers/law makers to take responsibility and add decent in car telephone services, that you don't need to pay R25 000 extra for. Should be a minimum spec item to have blue tooth or similar hand free system in cars.

      ofentse.ramorula - 2011-12-15 14:27

      Bluetooth is standard on all Ford's Focus but its about R12000 option in a VW's Golf. I do not understand why people like to be milked so much.

  • don.odendaal - 2011-12-15 18:55

    First get the cops in SA to stop talking whilst driving then mabye ill listen

      Vickers - 2011-12-16 06:38

      Or maybe you will listen after you killed somebody while texting or talking?

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