Whether drivers should be allowed to use cell phones while driving is a hot topic in both Canada and the US. In fact, in the US, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recently called for all 50 states to ban the non-emergency use of all portable electronic devices—even with a hands-free device.
The NTSB cited a series of accidents it’d investigated as the reason for its strong recommendation. Examples:
- An Aug. 5, 2010 highway crash in Missouri in which a pickup driver, who’d been texting, ploughed into a tractor trailer and set off a series of collisions that killed two people.
- In 2010 in Kentucky, a truck-tractor with a 53-foot-long trailer left its lane, crossed the median and collided with a 15-passenger van. The truck driver lost control of his vehicle because he was distracted by the use of his cell-phone. The accident resulted in 11 fatalities.
- In the 2008 collision of a commuter train with a freight train in California, the commuter train engineer, who had a history of using his cell phone for personal communications while on duty, ran a red signal while texting. The train collided head on with a freight train— killing 25 and injuring dozens.
- In 2004, an experienced motor coach driver, distracted on his hands-free cell-phone, failed to move to the center lane and struck the underside of an arched stone bridge on a highway in Virginia. Eleven of the 27 high school students on board were injured.
Do you think Canadian jurisdictions should ban all use of cell phones, iPods and other electronic devices while behind the wheel, including the use of hands-free devices?
Cell Phone Resources
Most Canadian jurisdictions already ban at least some use of cell phones by drivers. And it’s in employers’ best interests to bar their workers from using cell phones while driving company vehicles or on company business. For resources that can help you implement a cell phone ban policy, go the OHSInsider’s new Cell Phone and Other Electronic Devices Compliance Center, where you’ll find: