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WASHINGTON, DC – The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Tuesday, Dec 12, called for a nationwide ban on the use of cell phones and text messaging devices while driving except for emergencies.

The recommendation for a total ban doesn’t include hands-free devices which are frequently used by commercial truck drivers.

Chicago Tribune reports:

The recommendation, unanimously agreed to by the five-member board, applies to both hands-free and hand-held phones and significantly exceeds any existing state laws restricting texting and cellphone use behind the wheel.

The board made the recommendation in connection with a deadly highway pileup in Missouri last year. The board said the initial collision in the accident near Gray Summit, Mo., was caused by the inattention of a 19 year-old-pickup driver who sent or received 11 texts in the 11 minutes immediately before the crash.

Two Die in Semi Truck, Pickup and School Bus Crash Near St. Louis, MO

Recently Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has also questioned the safety of “hands free” cell phones and similar devices stating, “Every time a commercial truck or bus driver takes his or her eyes off the road to use a cell phone, even for a few seconds, the driver places everyone around them at risk.”

A ban on texting while driving already exists that affects 4 million truckers.

Starting Jan. 3, interstate truck drivers will receive stiff federal penalties if they are caught talking on a hand-held cellphone. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration said the measure is needed because commercial drivers who reach for or dial a cellphone while driving are far more likely to be involved in a crash.

If every state adopts the proposal, the new recommendation would outlaw non-emergency phone calls and texting by operators of every vehicle on the road.

Posted by Houston truck accident lawyer Gordon, Elias & Seely, LLP

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