The National Safety Council (NSC) says it supports the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recommendation to ban all cell phone use, both handheld and hands-free, by commercial motor vehicle drivers. The ban is one of 15 new safety recommendations issued recently by the NTSB.

The call for a cell phone ban for commercial drivers follows the investigation of a March 2010 crash involving an 18-wheel semi-truck. The truck driver was cited with distraction from cell phone use as the probable cause of the crash that killed 11 people. The investigation found the truck driver had used his cell phone 69 times in the 24 hours prior to the crash, and four calls were made in the minute leading up to the collision.

The NSC estimates 23% of crashes involve cell phone use each year. According to the NTSN, because cell phone conversations cognitively distract drivers, shifting their attention from the task of driving and altering their behavior, both handheld and hands-free devices impair driving. The report also made a connection between the driver's fatigue and the level of distortion provided by the cell phone.

For more information:

www.nsc.org/safety_road/Distracted_Driving/Pages/CognitiveDistraction.aspx;

www.ntsb.gov/news/events/2011/munfordville_ky/index.html