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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The National Transportation Safety Board says after completing its investigation into a deadly car crash in Missouri, it found that texting caused the accident that killed two people and injured 38 others. The NTSB is now recommending that every state ban the use of cell phones, handheld or hands free, behind the wheel.

Although cell phone use while driving is illegal in some states, the National Transportation Safety Board is asking all 50 states to adopt the ban.

“It’s about a cognitive distraction,” NTSB spokeswoman Deborah Hersman said. “It’s about not being engaged in the task at hand.”

Drivers in Wilmington say they don’t think it will work.

“It’s a good idea in theory, because there are so many accidents caused by cell phone use, texting and what not, but being able to enforce it, I don’t see that as a feasible thing to do,” Scott Bennett of Wilmington said.

Most drivers we spoke with agree the law would not be effective.

“I think they would get away with using their cell phone because they would hide it,” Sheila Willard of Wilmington said.

Motorists say they think driving is a responsibility that should not be taken lightly. They say new drivers should be especially careful while behind the wheel.

“If you think it can’t happen to you, you’re kidding yourself,” Bennett said. “Everybody thinks it can’t happen to them. Even experienced drivers think it can’t happen to them, but you know a young driver is not an experienced driver, so they’re even much more distractable, so it’s insane. But try to tell somebody who’s young that you can’t do something. You’re just going to encourage them to do it.”

The NTSB’s recommendation does make one exception for the use of phones and other devices while driving: emergencies. Board members hope by banning the distractions, the number of emergencies on the road will decrease.

Comment on this Story

  • GuestUsed2B99x

    Considerate Person:

    If you are going to demean and insult someone at least expend the minimal effort to be grammatically correct. We in North Carolina already have a law which bans text messaging while driving. Cell phone use in banned for drivers under the age of 21. Much of the highest risk behaviors are already “unlawful”.

  • GuestUsed2B99x

    @Guest3130, had you taken the time to read 6969’s post in its entirety you would have found out that the accident in question had other proximate causes aside from the young driver messaging. You would have read compelling arguments that the young driver may NOT have been texting at all. You would have read about elderly bus drivers, inadequate following distances between vehicles and bad brakes too.

    But, hey, far be it from me to deny you your rant.

  • Considerate Person

    Wow, Cold day in Hell before you give up your cell phone? your a moron. People drove for years without a cell. Enjoy your quiet time in the car. Not being in touch every minute of every day is not going to kill you..however on the other hand, being in touch every minute of every day might. FOR GOSH SAKES PUT YOUR CELL PHONE DOWN WHEN YOUR IN YOUR CAR.

  • anne

    I don’t think you will ever be able to ban the use but I hope people will wise up and be more thoughtful about the way they use it while driving. As long as we have people with the “I am more important than anyone else” mentality, you will never stop it. People who text while driving are selfish and uncaring about those around them. I have never texted, don’t text, and have no plans on texting. It is not something I want to do. I figure that if what I say is important enough to hear, I can call.

    I will say this. I have been in some near misses with others that are on cell phones, and if I am in an accident with someone that is using the phone, and they don’t seriously injure me, or kill me, the police are going to wonder how that person’s cell phone ended up in their ear because that is where I am going to put it!

  • Guest7969

    SAME thing could happen if someone was disciplining a child, talking to someone next to them, messing with the radio or messing with an iPod…SOoooo…how about government STAYING THE FRACK OUT OF MY LIFE!!!…how’s that!?

  • Guest461

    Getting mighty cold too!

  • WilmingtonMAJ

    Sorry, but it will be a fridgid day in he** when I give up my phone. I don’t text and I don’t email while driving, but i’m sorry I am NOT going to quit calling. When possible I try to use my handsfree device but not always possible. If you stop cell phone use in cars, then you must also ban music, children, eating while driving. Not to mention older folks who have slower hand eye coordination…

  • Guest3130

    Are you so arrogant that you believe anyone was ACTUALLY going to read all of your “post?” Jeez. . .

    All I know is that I’ve had the experience first-hand – – I was in the right-hand lane, about to take an exit, when suddenly the driver who was next to me in the LEFT-hand lane began crossing over into my lane, and then onto the exit. It was dark & I could see that they had their phone held up in front of their face – – they were reading a text. We nearly crashed (and would have caused those behind us to crash) because the driver WAS READING A TEXT.

    Whatever was in that text couldn’t possibly be as important as saving a few lives.

  • Guest28451

    First off the admitted caused was texting while driving which is banned in most states already. Using Hands free devices are no different then talking to somebody in the car so unless your going to ban verbal communication while somebody is driving then the logic makes no sense. Also I mean if they are worried about electronic devices being a hazzard while were at it I guess we should remove all Radios, GPS devices or anythingelse that might distract drivers.. (sarcasm intended). I mean seriously folks.. This is getting to be stupid nannystatism. I agree texting while driving is totally unsafe and uncalled for which is what caused this wreck and has many others.. but handsfree talking as I stated before is no more unsafe then talking to somebody in the car and therefore what needs to be done has already been done which is making texting while driving illegal. Start holding people accountable for their actions.. You do it and your seen you get charged with reckless driving. If your in a wreck its an automatic suspended license for minimum 30days if its found you are texting while driving (isnt hard to find out either).. Lets deal with the real issues instead of trying to regulate us to death and treat us like little kids which is what this report amounts to..

  • Guest6969696969

    Full Credits to “reprint”…

    WASHINGTON – States should ban all driver use of cellphones and other portable electronic devices, except in emergencies, the National Transportation Board said Tuesday.


    The board made the recommendation in connection with a deadly highway pileup in Missouri last year. The board said the initial collision in the accident near Gray Summit, Mo., was caused by the inattention of a 19 year-old-pickup driver who sent or received 11 texts in the 11 minutes immediately before the crash.

    Ok, so the pickup driver (who was killed) may have been paying attention to his phone instead of the road, and hit a tractor trailer that had slowed down for construction. That would be a nice narrative and certainly cause for concern if it were true.

    Let’s read carefully and see if it is:

    Driver distraction wasn’t the only significant safety problem uncovered by NTSB’s investigation of the Missouri accident.

    Investigators said they believe the pickup driver was suffering from fatigue that may have eroded his judgment at the time of the accident. He had an average of about five and a half hours of sleep a night in the days leading up to the accident and had had fewer than five hours of sleep the night before the accident, they said.

    So they’re not actually sure if he was paying attention to the phone at the time of the incident. He had engaged in receiving and/or sending (heh wait a second… we’ll deal with that below) texts in the minutes leading up to the wreck, but they admit:

    It’s not possible to know from cellphone records if the driver was typing, reaching for the phone or reading a text at the time of the crash, but it’s clear he was manually, cognitively and visually distracted, she (Deborah Hersman) said

    Actually, Ms. Hersman just admitted she doesn’t know exactly why the teen plowed into the tractor. While the article says that 11 texts were either sent or received in the 11 minutes prior to the crash the direction of the messages is not disclosed nor are their timestamps. If I send you 11 texts and your phone is in your pocket this pattern would be found in the telco records, but that in
    no way, without knowing more, evidences whether you pulled and read the texts or whether you sent any of them. What if all of them were sent 10 minutes before he wrecked? Ah grasshopper, perhaps the phone was in his pocket and he wasn’t manipulating it at all! Why doesn’t the NTSB disclose the specifics? Is it because what the data actually shows doesn’t fit their narrative?

    Further Deborah assumes the driver was reading or sending the messages as proximately involved in the crash but being very tired the driver could have nodded off! That will quite-reliably lead you to ram the guy in front of you, incidentally. Ever driven while tired? I have. If you find yourself in that situation pull off the damn road at the nearest safe place and take a nap! The life you save is very likely to be your own (and anyone else in the vehicle with you.)

    Let’s continue onward here, because this story is about to get very interesting.

    Let’s first look at the “justification” for the newly-pontificated NTSB position:

    At any given moment last year on America’s streets and highways, nearly 1 in every 100 car drivers was texting, emailing, surfing the Web or otherwise using a handheld electronic device, the safety administration said. And those activities spiked 50 percent over the previous year.
    Sounds bad, right? Keep reading.

    The agency takes an annual snapshot of drivers’ behavior behind the wheel by staking out intersections to count people using cellphones and other devices, as well as other distracting behavior.

    Now wait a minute. Staking out intersections eh? Were the drivers reading a text or something else on their screen doing so while safely stopped at a red light in traffic? How else could the “stake outs” see with sufficient clarity (time, ability to discern if someone has said device in their hand, is using it, etc) unless the car is stopped? Isn’t it funny how the “surveillance” claims to be taken in a place and through a form and fashion that would pretty much mandate that the person being looked at was not moving at the time? Further, how about the guy (like me) who has said phone in a holder and it’s running a navigation program speaking directions (e.g. “turn right in 200 yards”)? Do I count as an “offender” in this case because my screen is lit? It sounds like from the above they count someone with a Garmin sitting on the dash as “distracted.” What if my bluetooth earpiece is in my ear (easily visible) but I’m not actually talking to anyone? How do you know? And by the way, if I’m stopped at a red light exactly what’s dangerous about looking at a text that was received some time prior when I heard the phone “bing”? Exactly what am I going to strike while stopped at a traffic signal? If I’m using my bluetooth earpiece or speakerphone to make or receive a phone call (stopped at a light or not) how does that conversation differ from one with the person in the passenger seat of the car? Are we going to be told that all passenger seating positions must be walled off from the driver — and that no radio or navigation assistance may be fitted in the vehicle either?

    Why do I smell intentional fraud upon the public in this so-called “study”?

    The pickup, traveling at 55 mph, collided into the back of a tractor truck that had slowed for highway construction. The pickup was rear-ended by a school bus that overrode the smaller vehicle. A second school bus rammed into the back of the first bus.

    So let me guess — the school bus drivers were using their cellphones too, right? That would explain why both bus drivers didn’t notice that the truck in front had slowed down and they both got involved in a multi-vehicle pile-up. It would also provide reasonable justification for the NTSB position.

    There’s only one problem – that’s not what happened, and now we get to the meat of the NTSB scam and fraud upon the public by our so-called “civil servants”:

    Investigators also found significant problems with the brakes of both school buses involved in the accident. A third school bus sent to a hospital after the accident to pick up students crashed in the hospital parking lot when that bus’ brakes failed.

    Wait a second!

    Our intrepid 19 year old dies because he’s stupid. Whether that was due to driving while tired or texting we will never know for sure, but it doesn’t matter. Murphy is a bastard and the kid’s ticket got punched.

    However, by taking a material amount of the impact himself he may have actually saved lives as it appears both of the school buses behind him had non-working brakes! And the presence or absence of a cellphone by the 19 year old, no matter whether it was in his hand or pocket, has nothing to do with that!

    First rule of driving: You’re always responsible for your own situational awareness so that you can either stop or evade irrespective of what the vehicle in front of you does (or doesn’t) do.

    If you hit someone from behind it is almost always legally your fault as you’re required to maintain that aforementioned situational awareness.

    Now remember folks that a School Bus has a much higher driving position and thus higher sight line than a pickup truck. As such the driver of the School Bus had to have been able to see the tractor rig slow in front of him as he could see over the pickup and in any event the tractor is ~10+ feet tall!

    In short it is rather obvious that the school bus hit the pileup of the tractor and pickup not because the pickup struck the tractor but because the school bus driver was either not paying attention or was unable to stop, and the second bus hit him because the second bus could not stop either! And why couldn’t they stop?

    The NTSB says both buses involved in the collision had significant problems with their brakes!

    Worse, a third bus from the same school district sent to pick up the students after the wreck crashed in the hospital parking lot when its brakes failed too!

    What the hell did this accident and all the kids that got hurt, other than the 19 year old in the pickup, have to do with texting on a cellphone?


    Had the 19 year old not been distracted (or half-asleep, which seems at least as likely) he almost-certainly would have slowed and been hit from behind by the first and second bus anyway.

    This is a massive scam folks.

    You have a kid here who’s dead and can’t defend himself against the libel that he was somehow responsible for the injuries other than his own. Whether he was distracted or fell asleep behind the wheel he paid for his offense with his life. We don’t even know with any reasonable degree of certainty that he was actually looking at his phone in the first place. You can bet, incidentally, that if the NTSB had proof that he had been sending those messages or that he was actually reading them at the time of the wreck they would have said so.

    What’s obvious, however, by the NTSB’s own statement, is that the injuries would have ended with the teen driver of the pickup but for not one but two separate school buses operating on the roads without properly-working brakes and/or attentive drivers and the third one sent to the hospital to retrieve the victims had defective brakes as well. The risk of further injury to the kids was avoided only due to the bare luck of that third bus crashing in the hospital parking lot first!

    So what do we have here? Slander of this kid’s good name without evidence. An attempted deflection of the actual cause of the injuries to the children on the buses through the desperate search for something, anything to blame those injuries on that doesn’t rest upon three poorly-maintained school buses without properly-working brakes that were being operated on the public highways — something the NTSB and DOT is directly responsible for. And finally, in the best of Goebbels tradition by our jackbooted Nazi Government we have an outrageous overreach and attempt to advocate new legislation for the purpose of harassing motorists who are doing nothing wrong based on falsified evidence, slander and lies.

    To the NTSB and the rest of the Goebbels douche-nozzle jackazzes who I just caught in this series of intentional, malicious acts and the media outlets that ran their tripe without a hint of skeptical inquiry and pushback: F___ you all.

    EDIT to add: the FIRST bus Driver to hit the Kids truck was 75 years Old,
    Read the full commentary here–>
    credits http://market-ticker.org/akcs-www?post=199098

  • DU

    Nice job…I wonder why the article couln’t have looked at the “whole story”, as well as you.

  • Guest461

    …that you use in an armless attempt to justify the rediculous practice of texting while driving. You can come up with enough excuses to rival the thickness of “War and Peace” and it will never justify the first death related to texting while in a moving vehicle.

    It’s just Simple, Stupid. Since you IDIOTS that text and drive at the same time don’t have the cognizant ability to make rational decisions and have consideration for their fellow human beings behind the wheel, laws must be enacted to regulate that behavior. It is already well-known that texters are by far the easiest target for those that are looking for easy money on an insurance claim. These NTSB, DOT and DMV decisions are based on YOUR behavior and the relative consequences of death and injury. Key words, “YOUR BEHAVIOR”! People have had enough of this idiocy and are rallying to put a stop to it!

    Oh, and here’s a little tip for you. Go spend a few years in law school, even a cheap, back of the matchboook correspondence law school…something…anything. Your book of toilet sludge you posted is nothing more the ramblings of a pissed off anarchist that finds he may, ONCE AGAIN…be held accountable. Imagine that? Responsibility is a bitch isn’t it?

  • Guest_wilm

    Wow, great job on getting ALL the information. I’d read your blog if you had one. Too bad we don’t have more people like you working for media outlets (BTW, I really am sincere, you dug up more of the truth than the media). This is proof that you have to question ALL stories in the media, and try to figure out either the agenda of the media or the source of the news. For all those that think we can always trust the government and its various bodies, and that they are objective, and that they have our best interests at heart… think again…

    Anyway, if we ban mobile device use in a vehicle, then we have to ban eating, applying makeup (I’ll add that I once saw a guy shaving his head while driving, but at least he could look at the road ahead), and jamming to music… all are are equally distracting.

  • John

    That was a lot of work at 420 in the am.. :)

    I enjoyed the read.

  • Mary A. Daniels

    The person in Wilmington that can not justify having cell phones usage banned in cars is crazy! Those are the kind of people that ARE doing the texting and talking on the phone while driving. I work a mere 9 miles from my workplace and for the FIRST time in my life, I am NERVOUS about driving my motorcycle to work. EVERY day I see dozens of people talking on their phones, and texting. I have to brake unexpectedly and repeatedly because these idiots are not focusing on driving.

    The number of motorcycle accidents are no doubt going to increase ten times or better as long as this cycle of “telephoning and texting while driving” is allowed.

    Ask these people if they care about their respective families and children, this is what it has come down to!

  • newsworthy

    Young drivers (and not just in the age category)should be banned from mobile device use – they need to learn the skills of the road. Us older, experienced drivers should know better! However, I have seen law enforcement using cell devices while driving and until they are held in the same standard, you won’t get John Q Public to comply.

  • Guest327

    There is no doubt about it, if these gadgets are outlawed, and consequences severe enough to stop drivers from useing them, accidents will decrease and lives will be saved. I assume most of those who feel the ban will not be effective are those who use them. I feel the same toward cell phone users and especially those who text while driving as I do those who drink and drive. They have absolutely no consideration for themselves or anyone else they share the road with. The same laws should apply to both, texters and drunks. Perhaps, the cell company should also be held responsible as well, as they sell a product that they know is causing deaths. They should make a phone that is completely unuseable in a moving vehicle.

  • Guest3658974

    “Tell someone who is young they can’t do something you are just going to encourage them to mdo it.”

    First offense-a fine. Second offense-license suspended for a year. Third offense-license suspended in definately and\or jailtime. I gaurantee you will see a drop in cellphone use while driving especially among young people. It really is that simple folks.

  • Guest461

    …and here are some basic concepts: NTSB and DMV, take notes!

    Spotted using cell phone while driving – $500.00 1st offense, $1000.00 for second offense.

    Spotted texting and erratic driving – $500.00 fine and loss of license for 6 months. $1000.00 fine and loss of license for one year.

    Accident Discovery – Automatic Phone audit to all involved parties in the case of an accident. If texting time coincides with accident, phone is seized and used as evidence – $1500.00 fine, loss of license for one year, driver must enroll in no-phone withdrawal training and provide 40 hrs of community service, 1st offense. 2nd offense – Removal of both thumbs at 1st joint below fingernail, loss of license for 3 years. Hopefully the 3rd offense won’t be possible.

    Bottom line – If you are looking at your phone, you are NOT looking at where your vehicle is going or cognizant of the many conditions that surround you while moving in traffic. You are endangering the life of me, my family and my dear friends. It is time this rediculously childish and deadly behavior comes to an end. You are no different than a slobbering DRUNK behind the wheel and should be treated as such!

  • I am still wondering when the driving age is going to be raised to 17. It has been at 16 forever. I think it is time to move it up a year. What do you all think?

  • GuestUsed2B99x

    461, just because someone calls government actions and motivations to account doesn’t make them anarchists. The rhetoric and Nazi comparatives in the article re-printed with full attribution by the way was a little over the top. Here is the original article as reported on Fox http://www.foxnews.com/leisure/2011/12/13/ntsb-recommends-nationwide-ban-on-driver-cell-phone-usage/?test=faces

    Calling the writer who re-posted the article an anarchist was a little over the top on your part, wouldn’t you think?

    Now, if you would take the time to read the article you will see that there is in fact doubt as to whether or not the young driver was in fact text messaging. This is also in the Fox article referred to above.

    Among other factors cited in the article are bus drivers’ not maintaining a reasonable following distance for the speed at which they were traveling AND the finding that these buses had defective brakes. But hey, why should the facts deny you the pleasure of name calling?


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