Federal safety board calls for ban on cell phones while driving

Despite several states already banning use of personal electronic devices like cell phones while driving out of fear of people tweeting, texting and Facebooking, the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board today is taking things one step further. The safety board's now calling for a nationwide federal ban. And how'd they tell us? Well, they tweeted it.

What pushed the NTSB over the edge? It was its investigation of an accident in which a 19-year-old driver caused a deadly highway pileup in Missouri last year (photo above). Investigators found he'd sent or received 11 texts in the 11 minutes leading up to the accident. The driver was killed in the chain-reaction crash, as was a 15-year-old student on one of two school buses involved. Thirty-eight other people were injured.

But let's be clear here — this is just a recommendation; the NTSB doesn't have the power to set regulations. But the agency is asking lawmakers to step in and make driving-while-texting and other such cases — we don't yet know specifics until they give a higher-than-140-character update at 2:00 PM — federal.

We're just hoping that U.S. lawmakers don't get involved, as this is an area that really should continue to be under the jurisdiction of states. But, considering that texting while driving has actually been deemed less safe than driving drunk, the NTSB's stance will likely provide cover for more states to pass anti-texting laws. As they should. (Hat tip to BrtStlnd!)

(Photo: Jeff Roberson/AP)