A US safety advocacy group is seeking to ban all in-car mobile phone use across the whole of the country.
The National Security Council (NSC) has issued an open request to the state and national legislatures to issue new driving laws prohibiting the use of all mobile phones and messaging devices while driving a vehicle.
Many states have laws which prohibit talking on handsets while driving, but allow for the use of hands-free devices such as Bluetooth headsets. The NSC is seeking to extend the laws to cover all mobile phone use.
The NSC cited studies estimating that the mobile phone is a contributing factor in as many as six per cent of all traffic accidents, leading to 12,000 serious injuries and some 2,600 deaths annually.
"When you are on a call, even if both hands are on the wheel, your head is in the call, and not on your driving," said NSC president and chief executive Janet Froetscher.
"Unlike the passenger sitting next to you, the person on the other end of the call is oblivious to your driving conditions. The passenger provides another pair of eyes on the road."
The group is asking employers to initiate new policies forbidding employees from taking business calls or messages while driving.
"Anyone with a busy job knows the temptation to multi-task and stay in touch with the office while driving," said Froetscher.
"Employers understand how dangerous the behaviour is and their potential liability. We are asking all businesses to join us by adopting policies banning calling and texting while driving on the job."
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