NTSB wants cell phone ban for younger drivers

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The National Transportation Safety Board urged states to ban teenage drivers from using cell phones while they are learning to drive.

Highway crashes are the leading cause of death for 15- to 20-year-olds.

“An average of more than 120 young people die every week in vehicle crashes in this country,” said Mark Rosenker, acting NTSB chairman. “We must do everything we can to reduce these needless deaths, and we strongly believe that banning wireless communications devices for teenagers learning to drive will help significantly.”

Eleven states and the District of Columbia now have laws relating to wireless communication devices and young drivers. But only eight states have laws prohibiting their use by learners in both the permit and intermediate stages.

At a public meeting Tuesday, Sept. 20, the NTSB added the wireless restriction for young learners to its “Most Wanted List” of transportation safety improvements.

The list’s six emphases include:

  • Improved child occupant protection.
  • Primary seat belt enforcement.
  • Promotion of youth highway safety.
  • Preventing hardcore drinkers from driving.
  • Encouraging school bus/grade crossing safety.
  • Enhancing recreational boating safety.

    The board also removed two recommendations from the list, one calling for comprehensive underage drinking and driving laws, the other calling for nighttime driving restrictions for young novice drivers.

    Maps and tables providing state-by-state details for each of the recommendations can be found on the NTSB website.