The National Safety Council (NSC) has called for banning all cell phone use while driving. The NSC warning goes further than many other such calls by asking states to ban even hands-free cell phone driving.
The NSC, who previously led the “Click it or Ticket” campaign on seat belt use, plans to combat cell phone driving through advocating state legislation against it, and by educating drivers and businesses on the risks of cell phone driving.
The NSC cites National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data showing that 80% of accidents are caused by driver inattention. According to the NSC, cell phone use is the number one cause of driver inattention. According to an NSC fact sheet, drivers who use cell phones are four times more likely to crash while using their phone.
Currently, at least seven states have banned driving while talking without a hand-free device and/or driving while texting. More states capture these behaviors in general laws against driving while distracted. Many states have yet to address the problem directly. No state has enacted a ban on cell phone use including hands-free use.
For the NSC, banning drivers from texting and talking on handsets is not enough. As contended by the NSC, there is no difference in the level of distraction while talking on a hands-free device and talking on a headset while driving.
As reported by CNN, the cell phone industry opposes the ban advocated by the NSC. Reasons cell phone advocates cite include the creation of a false sense of security through laws restricting phone use, the ability to safely use cell phones for brief stretches while driving, and particular times (such as emergencies) when cell phones are appropriate while driving.