The National Transportation Safety Board wants an all-out ban on the use of cell phones while driving, including hands-free devices, but a key official isn’t giving his support for all parts of the regulations.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said at a news conference yesterday that he didn’t support the NTSB’s recommendation to ban hands-free calling, according to widespread reports.
“That is not the big problem in America,” he said.
LaHood has voiced support in the past for a ban on using cell phones while driving, but doesn’t think that ban needs to be extended to technology like Ford’s Sync hands-free calling system.
The NTSB lacks the authority to make rules about car safety. The Transportation Department, which LaHood oversees, has yet to issue any formal regulations on the issue.
The NTSB could not be immediately reached for comment, but a spokesman told the Wall Street Journal that “our recommendations are out there and we stand by them.”
The proposed cell phone ban was prompted by a rising number of deadly car crashes tied to distracted driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimated that more than 3,000 people died last year in distraction-related accidents.
Filed Under: Industry regulations