The National Transportation Safety Board has recommended that states ban the use of cell phones and other portable electronic devices by drivers of vehicles, except for in an emergency. That doesn't mean you have to immediately stop using your Android smartphone for navigation or music playback -- there's still some legislating that needs to be done for that to happen. But a recommendation from the NTSB certainly holds some water.
Here's the crux of the recommendation:
The safety recommendation specifically calls for the 50 states and the District of Columbia to ban the nonemergency use of portable electronic devices (other than those designed to support the driving task) for all drivers. The safety recommendation also urges use of the NHTSA model of high-visibility enforcement to support these bans and implementation of targeted communication campaigns to inform motorists of the new law and heightened enforcement.
The recommendation stems from a crash in Missouri in 2010 that involved a pickup truck, two school busses and a teenage driver who apparently had sent 11 text messages in as many minutes before the crash, which killed two and injured 38.
It's tough to say that phones don't distract drivers -- they most certainly can. But is a blanket ban too much? And would it even be effective?