NTSB Call to Arms: No call, no text, no update

Today the NTSB formally recommended a nationwide ban on texting while driving. Given the statistics cited in their press release, and the amount of near misses we’ve all experienced, this almost seems a day late.

The prompt for this national ban was a multi-car accident in 2010 that was caused by a distracted driving texter:

“On August 5, 2010, on a section of Interstate 44 in Gray Summit, Missouri, a pickup truck ran into the back of a truck-tractor that had slowed due to an active construction zone. The pickup truck, in turn, was struck from behind by a school bus. That school bus was then hit by a second school bus that had been following. As a result, two people died and 38 others were injured.

The NTSB’s investigation revealed that the pickup driver sent and received 11 text messages in the 11 minutes preceding the accident. The last text was received moments before the pickup struck the truck-tractor.”

According to NTSB Chairman Deboarah Harsman, 3000 people were killed last year due to “distrated related accidents”.

No doubt this is a needed ban on our roads. But, we can’t stop here. There are other distractions we have to curtail for our roads to become safe again. For example, on a typical day driving in my area, it’s not uncommon for me to see a few of the following by drivers passing by, often as I dodge out of their way:

  • Hands-free callers
  • Ear phone listeners. Really? Really. I see this all the time. Have iPod will travel.
  • Fast food eaters
  • Make up appliers
  • Newspaper readers
  • Laptop users

True cell phone use and texting are truly the big fish in the distracted driver waters but if we want our roads to be truly safe, we have to not forget the little fish either. In fact, sometimes those are more dangerous because they are not always on our radar.

With 2012 approaching let’s all make an early New Year’s Resolution to be safer drivers ourselves. Remember, our teens learn from us. So, their errors of judgement are just as much our fault as theirs…if their habits are our habits.





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