WASHINGTON (Bloomberg) -- U.S. drivers couldn't send text messages or use mobile phones -- even with headsets or portable speakers -- under U.S. National Transportation Safety Board recommendations aimed at preventing distracted-driving crashes.
"Too many people are texting, talking and driving at the same time," NTSB Chairman Deborah Hersman said at a hearing in Washington today. "It's time to put a stop to distraction. No call, no text, no update is worth a human life."
Systems built into cars, like General Motors Co.'s OnStar, and global positioning systems wouldn't be affected by the ban, said Kelly Nantel, an NTSB spokeswoman.
The NTSB recommends safety improvements for U.S. agencies to act upon. It can't implement them itself. Donald Karol, the NTSB's director of highway safety, said the agency had been recommending collision warning systems since the mid 1990s.
The board strengthened its anti-phone stance after completing its investigation into an August 2010 crash in Gray Summit, Mo., in which a 19-year-old GMC Sierra pickup driver sent or received 11 text messages in 13 minutes before plowing into the back of a tractor-trailer.
Two school buses collided with the stopped trucks. The pickup driver and one bus passenger perished in the crash. The truck driver and 37 other people were injured.
Last year, 3,092 deaths, or 9.4 percent of 2010 U.S. road fatalities were related to driver distraction, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said last week.
Comparable figures to previous years were not available because the agency changed how it keeps the statistic. Overall traffic fatalities dropped 2.9 percent last year to 32,885, the lowest since 1949, NHTSA said.