2:58 pm December 13, 2011, by Christopher Seward
The National Transportation Safety Board says it’s time for all U.S. drivers to ditch the cell phone when they’re behind the wheel.
The federal agency, which can’t make drivers do so on its own, says there have been too many traffic accidents, many of them fatal, that could have been prevented if drivers had only put the phone away instead of dialing or texting.
The NTSB wants Congress to ban all hands-free and hand-held phones in a move that would significantly exceed any existing state laws restricting texting and cell phone use behind the wheel, according to an Associated Press report.
Last year, Georgia made it illegal for anyone to read, type or send a text message while driving. And “driving” includes being stopped at red lights or awaiting an arrow in a turn lane. A violation can cost up to $100 for adults. Adults, however, can use the keypad to dial a phone number. Young drivers with provisional licenses are prohibited from all cellphone use while driving. If they are caught, the fine is $150.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, two out of 10 U.S. drivers say they have thumbed messages or emailed from the driver’s seat, and nearly 1 in every 100 texted, emailed or surfed the Web at any given moment last year.
Many countries have bans on using hand-held phones while driving, including France, Germany, United Kingdom, South Africa, China and Spain.
Should the U.S. join the list?
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