The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is proposing states ban new drivers from driving and chatting on the phone. Federal safety regulators believe teens just learning to drive would be safer if they were legally prohibited from using a wireless device while driving.
"An average of more than 120 young people die every week in vehicle crashes in this country," NTSB Chairman Mark Rosenker says. "We must do everything we can to reduce these needless deaths and we strongly believe that banning wireless communications devices for teenagers learning to drive will help significantly," he says.
To promote its position, NTSB added restricting wireless communications devices for young learners to its "Most Wanted List" of transportation safety improvements. While the NTSB has no power to make laws, it is an influential body.
This year, 38 states passed laws that restrict wireless phone use behind the wheel, although New York, New Jersey and Connecticut are the only states that prohibit use of handheld phones while driving.
NTSB states 11 states and Washington, D.C., currently have laws on the books pertaining specifically to young drivers and wireless devices, but only 8 of those states cover drivers in the permit and intermediate stages.