Phones disabled in cars. Good idea or bad idea?
The board of the National Transportation Safety Administration on Tuesday recommended tough new restrictions on drivers' use of wireless phones and other mobile devices.
The NTSB specifically recommended that the makers of consumer electronics devices "[e]ncourage the development of technology features that disable the functions of portable electronic devices within reach of the driver when a vehicle is in motion; these technology features should include the ability to permit emergency use of the device while the vehicle is in motion and have the capability of identifying occupant seating position so as not to interfere with use of the device by passengers."
The federal agency also recommended that all 50 states and the District of Columbia "[b]an the nonemergency use of portable electronic devices (other than those designed to support the driving task) for all drivers; ... use the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration model of high visibility enforcement to support these bans; and ... implement targeted communication campaigns to inform motorists of the new law and enforcement, and to warn them of the dangers associated with the nonemergency use of portable electronic devices while driving."
"According to [National Highway Transportation Safety Administration], more than 3,000 people lost their lives last year in distraction-related accidents," said NTSB Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman. "It is time for all of us to stand up for safety by turning off electronic devices when driving."