Local Lawmaker, Drivers React to NTSB Cell Phone Ban - WSET.com - ABC13

Local Lawmaker, Drivers React to NTSB Cell Phone Ban

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Reporter:  Shelley Basinger l Videojournalist:  Steven Smith

Lynchburg, VA – The National Transportation Safety Board is asking every state to ban drivers from using a cell phone while behind the wheel, except in the case of an emergency.

This comes after a finding from an August 2010 crash in Missouri. Two school buses, a tractor trailer and a pickup truck were involved in deadly pileup. 

This week, the NTSB found the driver of the pickup truck who caused this pileup was texting before the crash.

Some local drivers support the ban federal officials are recommending.

"Your car is weaving and you just don't pay attention enough, I think it's a good idea," said Patricia Jordan.

"I feel like when you're in the car you should not use your cell phone, you should concentrate on driving for everyone's safety and your safety," said Raymond Dillard.

But they shouldn't expect a new law anytime soon.

"I think it would be very difficult to legislate that we can't use cell phones at all," said 23rd District Delegate Scott Garrett.

Virginia has already passed several bills dealing with cell phones in cars, including texting while driving.  But any legislation for a complete ban has failed.  Delegate Scott Garrett says that's because once you call talking on a cell phone a distraction - what about eating behind the wheel or changing the radio?

"Anything that fundamentally distracts our vision away from the road or our hands away from the steering wheel or our feet away from the brake and the gas pedal are distractions," said Garrett.

There's also the issue of government intervention and whether a law should take the place of common sense.

"That's a choice that we should make as individuals to be responsible, I don't think we need the government to tell me how to do that," said one driver.

"At the end of the day, folks need to be responsible for their driving habits," said Garrett.

It's already illegal in nine states to use electronic devices while driving.  The Department of Transportation says in 2009 more than 5,400 people died in crashes linked to distracted driving.

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