States should ban all driver use of cell phones and other portable electronic devices, except in emergencies, the National Transportation Board said Tuesday.
The recommendation, unanimously agreed to by the five-member board, applies to both hands-free and hand-held phones and significantly exceeds any existing state laws restricting texting and cellphone use behind the wheel.
The board made the recommendation in connection with a deadly highway pileup in Missouri last year. The board said the initial collision in the accident near Gray Summit, Mo., was caused by the inattention of a 19 year-old-pickup driver who sent or received 11 texts in the 11 minutes immediately before the crash. Two were killed and 38 injured in the Aug. 5, 2010, accident that involved two school buses.