Originally published on Wed December 14, 2011 4:16 pm
When the head of the National Transportation Safety Board called for states to pass tough new laws banning drivers from using cellphones or hand-held devices, she said: "No call, no text, no update, is worth a human life."
While Tuesday's statement by NTSB Chairwoman Deborah Hersman is undeniable, there are those who question the advisability of such a ban. Some state lawmakers and transportation experts say it could be difficult to enforce and that there's no real evidence yet that existing laws on hand-held devices have significantly reduced accident rates.
Federal safety investigators say a 19-year-old driver was texting at the time his pickup truck, two school buses and a tractor-trailer truck collided in a deadly pileup on an interstate highway in Missouri last year.
The National Transportation Safety Board released the information Monday. The board is scheduled to meet Tuesday to hear the results of an investigation into the accident near Gray Summit and make safety recommendations.
The Missouri Senate has given first-round approval to legislation that would expand the texting-while-driving ban to all motorists, not just those ages 21 or younger.
Although the bill passed, some senators opposed to the ban attached two amendments that have nothing to do with texting-while-driving, in an effort to kill the bill. But both were vehicle-related, so supporters changed the bill's title to include various topics related to motor vehicles.