New recommendation encourages drivers to put down phones - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

New recommendation encourages drivers to put down phones

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SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KTIV) -

The National Transportation Safety Board is calling for a total ban of cell phone use by drivers.

That means neither calling, texting nor tweeting can happen when you're behind the wheel, unless it is an emergency situation.

Drivers have a lot to think about behind the wheel. That's why federal safety officials want to take one major distraction away.

The NTSB says even momentary distractions have proven to be deadly, and it's encouraging all 50 states to enact laws that prohibit the use of handheld devices while driving.

It doesn't take much for something to happen that requires a quick reaction," said Jeremy McClure, crime prevention officer for the Sioux City police department.

Texting and calling, even with a hands-free device, is such a driving distraction that the NTSB wants to ban it nationwide.

"Lots of people, especially the younger's, don't have the concentration to be doing all that stuff at one time. They should be focused on the driving part of that," said Rich Strom.

"Especially now that there's smart phone that need to be touched on, even answering a phone, you always look down, then all of a sudden, you're like, wow, I almost rear-ended the person. So, I think it's a good thing in the long run and it makes it safer on the roads," said Tracey Badar.

Officials say the ban on electronics won't extend all the way to your GPS or the radio. But before you push any of the buttons on your smart phone, be sure you're pulled over on the side of the road.

"What we'd ultimately like to see is people thinking about their safety and other driver's safety No. 1, and not needing the law or police officers to remind them of the law," said McClure.

But sometimes that's easier said than done.

"I think you have to use it with some common sense, and that's the problem I think we have with it in general," said Chris Vogt. "Myself? Yeah, I talk on the phone. Have I sent a text at a stop sign? Yeah."

While a phone ban may be inconvenient, the ultimate goal could save lives. 

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