National Safety Council calls for ban on cell phone use while driving

By Layron Livingston - bio - email

Posted by Ellen Krafve - email

If you've got one, then more than likely you're just as guilty as the person in the other car. Talking on your cell phone while driving. Now, the National Safety Council is calling for a complete ban on using cell phones while behind the wheel even when using a hands-free device. The issue has a lot of people talking in and out of the car.

Everybody uses a cell phone while they're driving. I do on occasion which is funny because I hate getting behind somebody who's on their cell phone. I can always tell when they're on their cell phone because they're swerving or their slowing down, creating havoc on the roadways.

According to the National Safety Council, drivers using cell phones are four times more likely to get into an accident.

"I understand that people are busy and that drivers are trying to multitask as much as they can, but driving is already a multi-task function," said Andy Bednarek. "Let's not complicate it anymore by adding all these other things into the equation."

Right now, 6 states and D.C. require hands-free devices. Texas is not one of those states, but here in East Texas distracted drivers attribute to an eighty-six percent higher rate of accidents.

"It's a no brainer, you know. Pay attention when you're in the car," said State Trooper Jean Dark.

That's why Suzi Stein is with Pay Attention East Texas, a coalition of organizations whose goal is to eliminate those distractions.

"You can make a personal choice every time you get into the car and it can have an effect on bringing down that statistic," said Stein.

More lives could be saved, and if such a ban took place it could mean more money in your pocket. Summer Baxter is with Threlkeld Insurance Company.

"If the losses do decrease because of the cell phone usage declining, then yes the premiums would decrease as well," said Baxter.

Is that incentive enough?

"As much as I hate regulating my freedoms, I realize it is a risk," said Bednarek.

The safety group is also calling for businesses to prohibit employees from driving and talking on their cell phones. Some states have already banned DWT, or driving while texting. It may take years before a total ban could take.