I never thought I'd have reason to write about National Transportation Safety Board proposals in this particular forum. But the always-on culture created by smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices means that the NTSB could impact the way we do business. Especially if states take its latest recommendation to heart.
This week, the agency encouraged state governments to ban using phones while driving. Several states have already banned texting while driving, but the NTSB wants to go beyond that and ban the use of any electronic devices other than a GPS while driving. This after a recent study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration revealed that 3,092 people died last year as a result of distracted driving.
According to Ars Technica, though the number has decreased from 2009, an NHTSA survey of drivers revealed that nearly half continue to use their devices while driving, despite state laws to the contrary. The recommended ban includes hands-free and bluetooth-enabled devices.
In a statement on the issue, NTSB Chair Deborah Hersman said:
It is past time to face the facts that no one can drive safely when driving is not their focus. It's not just about the distracted driver. It's about the safety of everyone else. It's time to curb the carnage on our roads from distraction-related accidents.
Despite the strong encouragement, it's unlikely many states will adopt such a wide-reaching ban. Moreover, says writer Sean Gallagher, enforcement will be difficult.