Drivers should be banned to use mobile phones

image According to a new report, America’s federal transportation safety agency wanted a total ban on all cell phone use for drivers, including the use of hands-free headsets because of the risk. The New York Times posted NHTSA’s entire 266-page study online for public viewing.

The National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration recommends that drivers do not use cell phone devices at the wheel, except in an emergency. As for the use of hands-free headsets, which some states currently require for in-car cell phone use, the NHTSA says that the headsets create as much of a crash risk as the hand-held devices do. Thus, the NHTSA’s data showed that cell phone use by drivers was responsible for 240,000 accidents and 955 deaths nationwide in 2002. It suggested hands-free and handheld devices caused comparable "cognitive distraction" that negatively affected driving ability.

The report, created by the NHTSA, was actually written in 2002 but it was held back from releasing until now because of "larger political considerations," the then-head of the NHTSA explained. He said that lawmakers might have felt the agency had "crossed the line into lobbying." As a result, the Times reports, the NHTSA feared billions of dollars of federal funding could have been jeopardized.

If anything, the risks now may be more extreme than they were at the time of the NHTSA’s original study, too: According to the measurements from a nonprofit wireless industry association, the number of Americans with cell phone service has shot from about half of the population in 2002 to a staggering 87 % of it now.


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