NSTB Calls For Nationwide Ban on PEDs While Driving

National Transportation Safety Board Press RELEASE

WASHINGTON - Following Monday's Board meeting on the 2010 multi-vehicle highway accident in Gray Summit, Missouri, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) called for the first-ever nationwide ban on driver use of personal electronic devices (PEDs) while operating a motor vehicle. The safety recommendation specifically calls for the 50 states and the District of Columbia to ban the nonemergency use of portable electronic devices (other than those designed to support the driving task) for all drivers. The safety recommendation also urges implementation of targeted communication campaigns to inform motorists of the new law and heightened enforcement. "According to NHTSA, more than 3,000 people lost their lives last year in distraction-related accidents", said Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman. "It is time for all of us to stand up for safety by turning off electronic devices when driving." "No call, no text, no update, is worth a human life." On August 5, 2010, on a section of Interstate 44 in Missouri, a pickup truck ran into the back of a truck-tractor that had slowed. The pickup truck, in turn, was struck from behind by a school bus. That school bus was then hit by a second school bus. 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. However, the first investigation involving distraction from a wireless electronic device occurred in 2002, when a novice driver, distracted by a conversation on her cell phone, veered off the roadway in Largo, Maryland, crossed the median, flipped the car over, and killed five people.

Since then, the NTSB has seen the deadliness of distraction across all modes of transportation. * In 2004, an experienced motorcoach driver, distracted on his hands-free cell phone, failed to move to the center lane and struck an arched stone bridge in Alexandria, Virginia. Eleven of the 27 high school students were injured; * In the 2008 collision of a commuter train with a freight train in Chatsworth, California, the commuter train engineer, who had a history of using his phone for personal communications on duty, ran a red signal while texting. That train collided with a freight train – killing 25 and injuring dozens; * In Philadelphia in 2010, a barge being towed by a tugboat ran over an amphibious "duck" boat in the Delaware River, killing two Hungarian tourists. The tugboat mate failed to maintain a proper lookout due to repeated use of a cell-phone and laptop computer; * In the last two decades, there has been exponential growth in the use of cell-phone and personal electronic devices. Globally, there are 5.3 billion mobile phone subscribers or 77 percent of the world population. In the United States, that percentage is even higher - it exceeds 100 percent. Further, a Virginia Tech Transportation Institute study of commercial drivers found that a safety-critical event is 163 times more likely if a driver is texting, e-mailing, or accessing the Internet. "The data is clear; the time to act is now. How many more lives will be lost before we, as a society, change our attitudes about the distractions?" Hersman said. A synopsis of the NTSB report, including the probable cause, findings, and a complete list of the safety recommendations, is available at: http://www.ntsb.gov/news/events/2011/gray_summit_mo/index.html. The NTSB's full report will be available on the website in several weeks.

Still not convinced? How about this:

State Farm Research Shows Distracted Driving Problem Extends Well Beyond Texting Use of mobile web in vehicles now increasing at a rapid rate

BLOOMINGTON, Ill., Dec. 13, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- New research from State Farm is showing that though texting while driving remains a concern on the nation's highways, drivers are accessing other mobile web services at much higher rates. These behaviors may pose equal or greater concerns in the battle against distracted driving. In a new survey of nearly 900 motorists, the company found that use of mobile web services has increased dramatically over the last two years.

For drivers 18-29:

  • Accessing the internet while on a cell phone while driving increased from 29 percent in 2009 to 43 percent in 2011.
  • Reading social media networks while driving increased from 21 percent in 2009 to 37 percent in 2011.
  • Updating social networks while driving increased from 20 percent in 2009 to 33 percent in 2011.

"Calls from the NTSB and others to ban cell phones are focusing now on both texting and web use while driving. The mobile web is a growing issue for safety advocates concerned about distractions while driving," said David Beigie, State Farm Public Affairs Vice President. "Additionally, while the focus has been on young people, the data also indicates that motorists of all ages are increasing their use of the mobile web while driving."

For all drivers, the data showed:

  • Accessing the internet while on a cell phone increased from 13 percent in 2009 to 18 percent in 2011.
  • Reading social media networks while driving increased from 9 percent in 2009 to 14 percent in 2011.
  • Updating social networks while driving increased from 9 percent in 2009 to 13 percent in 2011.

Ironically, the study showed that use of texting while driving was remaining flat or decreasing in some instances:

  • For drivers 18-29, 71 percent said they engaged in texting while driving in 2009. That number dropped to 64 percent in 2011.
  • For all drivers this number stayed relatively flat coming in at 31 percent in 2009 compared to 32 percent in 2011.

About the survey:
In August 2009 and 2010, and in July 2011, State Farm's Strategic Resources Department used an outside panel vendor to conduct an online survey of U.S. consumers ages 18+. Survey responses were received from consumers who identified themselves as having some insurance and financial responsibility for their household. Only responses from consumers who had a valid drivers license, owned a cell phone, and reported driving between 1 and 80 hours per week were used when reporting the findings of behavior-based questions. Driving was defined as any time the car was en route to a destination, including being stopped in traffic or at a stoplight.

About State Farm®:
State Farm and its affiliates are the largest providers of car insurance in the U.S. and is a leading insurer in Canada. In addition to providing auto insurance quotes, their 17,800 agents and more than 65,000 employees serve 81 million policies and accounts – more than 79 million auto, home, life and health policies in the United States and Canada, and nearly 2 million bank accounts. Commercial auto insurance, along with coverage for renters, business owners, boats and motorcycles, is also available. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company is the parent of the State Farm family of companies. State Farm is ranked No. 37 on the Fortune 500 list of largest companies. For more information, please visit http://www.statefarm.com or in Canada http://www.statefarm.ca.