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U.S. Safety Board Urges Nationwide Ban on Drivers' Use of Cellphones
Date:12/14/2011

spondents said they "often or sometimes" sent or received/read text messages while driving.

Some 39 states plus the District of Columbia have enacted laws regulating the use of mobile devices in vehicles. But a recent study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that use of cellphones and other distractions while driving has actually risen over time, despite these efforts.

A study published in 2010 in the American Journal of Public Health estimated that texting alone helped cause 16,000 deaths in car accidents between 2001 and 2007.

One expert who deals with the aftermath of traffic accidents applauded the NTSB recommendation.

"I wholeheartedly support a ban on personal electronic devices, which provide an unprecedented degree of distraction that's very dangerous," said Dr. Lisandro Irizarry, chair of the emergency department at The Brooklyn Hospital Center in New York City. "We seem to have gotten beyond 'hands-free' devices, and everyone -- from teenagers to senior citizens -- is texting. It's very easy to get distracted, especially when driving, and end up in the ER," Irizarry said.

While the NTSB lacks the power to impose restrictions itself, federal and state lawmakers rely on the board's recommendations when drafting new legislation, the AP noted.

More information

There's more on distracted driving at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

-- HealthDay Staff

SOURCES: Lisandro Irizarry, M.D., chair, emergency department, The Brooklyn Hospital Center, New York City; Nov. 30, 2011, Harris Interactive/HealthDay poll; Washington Post; Associated Press


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