Transportation board won’t back NTSB recommendation for hands-free ban

U.S. Transportation secretary Ray LaHood said he will not issue a nationwide ban on using cell phones and hand-free devices while driving, as proposed recently by the National Transportation Safety Board. LaHood believes that hands-free calling is not a problem in the United States, and his stance certainly supports the auto and mobile industries. Ford, for example, equips several of its car models with Ford Sync hands-free technology. A ban on hands-free devices would likely prevent the company from selling that product. Hands-free phone calls are “not the big problem in America,” LaHood argued. “If other people want to work on hands-free, so be it.” LaHood has admitted that talking on the phone while driving is a distraction and he toyed with a nationwide ban, but never followed through with it. Individual states, however, have the power to issue statewide bans and there are currently nine states, in addition to Washington, D.C., with bans in effect. Thirty-five states currently ban texting while driving, too. The U.S. Department of Transportation is currently working on a set of safety guidelines that hands-free and in-car entertainment system manufacturers will have to follow, The Wall Street Journal said.

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