The National Safety Council called for a ban on using cell phones while driving, even with a headset, and urged all states to create laws and businesses to make new policies.
“Studies show that driving while talking on a cell phone is extremely dangerous and puts drivers at a four times greater risk of a crash,” asserted council CEO Janet Froetscher in a statement today. “Driving drunk is also dangerous and against the law. When our friends have been drinking, we take the car keys away. It’s time to take the cell phone away.”
Froetscher cited a Harvard Center of Risk Analysis study, finding cell phone use while driving contributes to 6% of crashes in the United States.
“The change we are looking for, to stop cell phone use while driving, won’t happen overnight. There will be a day, however, when we look back and wonder how we could have been so reckless with our cell phones and texting devices,” she said.
Additional statistics are on the council site here.
CTIA quickly replied in a blog post by public affairs vice president John Walls.
CTIA agrees that driving-while-calling is dangerous, as are other common automotive behaviors, Walls said. “But when looking at the implications of a total ban, it’s important to look at all of the situations that can occur and consider the ramifications of a total prohibition,” he wrote.
There are many situations of convenience or emergency when sensible calling is safe, Walls argued. In addition, police should simply use existing reckless driving laws to stop dangerous drivers of any sort, he wrote.