ARDMORE, OK - Drivers may be forced to hang up the phone after a government panel suggests a nationwide ban on cell phone use while driving.
A recent accident in Missouri involving a pick-up truck and two school buses resulted in two deaths and injured 38 others. The National Transportation Safety Board found the pick-up driver had received 11 text messages in the 11 minutes preceding the accident. It was this story that prompted the board's recommendation that all 50 states should ban personal electronic device usage while driving.
The NTSB says more than 3,000 people died last year because of distracted driving. They say,"no call, no text, no update, is worth a human life." It is a statement local drivers agree with.
"I know from experience because I was in my friend's truck and she was texting," said Cassandra Morey, "I was trying to tell her to stop, and she ran into a car that had a baby in the seat."
"I'm for the ban," said Brian Williams, "I worked in an emergency in Fresno where we saw all the trauma coming in and, you know, it's just not worth it."
Although many people agree that using electronic devices are dangerous while driving they say it would be hard to adapt to regulations outlawing the use of all personal electronic devices.
"I work on my phone so it would be very hard for me to not use it in the car," Lindsey May said.
"I have to get in touch with my parents a lot, and they are always asking my parents where I'm at or where I'm going," Brandon Nowell said.
Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper Miles Anderson says a law preventing distracted driving would be beneficial. He says just Monday, he responded to an accident in which a driver lost focus while messing with their GPS.
"If you don't have both hands on the wheel and both eyes on the road then you are not in control of that vehicle," Anderson said.
Anderson says in the past four years he has seen an increase in distracted driving accidents. Accidents he says could have been avoided if the driver was giving their undivided attention to the road ahead.
"If you have to be on some type of electronic device or use it then pull over. That 30 seconds or a minute or if it's 20 minutes then that's better than being upside down in a ditch," Anderson said.
The NTSB is not able to implement the ban. It is only a recommendation that they are hoping states and cities will