CLEVELAND - While the National Transportation Safety Board thinks states should ban all driver use of cellphones and other portable electronic devices, except in emergencies, auto club AAA isn't fully backing that proposal.
"We recommend a complete ban on texting for all states...and we also support a complete ban for cell phones for those under 18," explained Brian Newbacher, Director of Public Affairs at AAA East Central. "We don't support a full ban for all drivers."
It may come as a surprise though that more and more people are standing behind a texting while driving ban. AAA said surveys have shown an increase in the number of people who support such a ban. Ten years ago, 50 percent were for it, compared to 70 percent today.
"But we don't feel it's realistic enough to put so many resources in it now," said Newbacher.
The five-member NTSB board made the recommendations earlier this week, requesting the ban apply to both hands-free and hand-held cellphones while anyone is behind the wheel. AAA partly agrees with the NTSB.
"Hands-free does not mean risk free. Research shows that when you're on your cellphone, even if it's hands-free, you're still not paying complete attention to the road," said Newbacher.
The NTSB board made the recommendation in connection with a deadly highway pileup in Missouri last year. The board said the initial collision in the accident near Gray Summit, Mo., was caused by the inattention of a 19 year-old-pickup driver who sent or received 11 texts in the 11 minutes immediately before the crash.
"AAA doesn't support a full ban for all drivers, but we do support a full texting ban," Newbacher reiterated.