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Federal CellPhone and Texting Bans a Call to Action? (Part I)

After wrapping up its investigation into the deadly multi-vehicle collision near Grey Summit in 2010, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has suggested that a federal ban go into effect, with each state forbidding all drivers from using nonemergency portable electronic communication devices, including cell phones.

On August 5, 2010, a 19-year-old man was driving a GMC Sierra pickup truck on Interstate 44 near Gray Summit, Missouri. Failing to slow as it approached a road construction zone, the Sierra rear-ended a tractor-trailer. In the seconds that followed, a school bus transporting kids to Six Flags in St. Louis rear-ended the Sierra. A second school bus rear-ended the back of the first bus.

A 15-year-old student and the 19-year-old driver of the Sierra pickup were killed in the crash. Thirty-eight others were injured.

The NTSB’s investigation into Gray Summit multi-car pileup found that the driver of the Sierra pickup, who started the chain reaction of rear-end collisions, had received and sent more than 10 text messages in the minutes immediately preceding the crash.

Believing that the injuries and deaths caused by the accident were due to the pickup’s driver being distracted by an electronic device prior to the crash, the NTSB has suggested that all states should only allow cellphone and portable electronic device use for emergencies.

The NTSB’s call to action follows an increasing number of suspected distracted driving accidents with numerous horrific fatalities. But it is unlikely that all of the states will jump on board with the NTSB’s suggestion.

For more about the states’ reaction – particularly Texas’s – to the NTSB’s call to action, please check out our next post.

Source: St. Louis Today, “Feds want ban on cellphones while driving after Missouri pileup,” 12/14/11.

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