WASHINGTON - The nation’s top safety experts say it should be illegal to use any kind of electronic device while driving – now, AAA Mid-Atlantic said such a ban would go too far.
Right now it is illegal in Maryland to use a phone to text or e-mail while you're driving. Making or receiving a phone call, without a hands-free device, is a secondary offense.
But the NTSB says distracted driving causes 600,000 crashes and 3,000 deaths each year, and that's why its members they say it's time to put a stop to it altogether.
“In regarding distractions due to electronic devices -- if we don't act now, how many lives will we lose in the next 30 years? I don't think we can afford to wait an entire generation to change this,” said NTSB Board Member Robert Sumwalt.
A spokeswoman for AAA Mid-Atlantic says a total ban doesn’t seem likely in Maryland.
“We don't want to give the impression that just because you're hands free that you're risk free. That being said we do have research that has shown that if you are hands-free, you are no more distracted than say turning your radio,” the spokeswoman, Ragina Averella, said.
In addition to conflicting studies on what's safe for drivers and what's not, AAA believes there is no appetite for an absolute ban in Annapolis.
“Such bans and such legislation, or efforts to have a total ban, have been met with significant resistance both by the public sector as well as legislators,” Averella said.
AAA will be pushing to change make talking on your phone without a hands-free device a primary offense in the upcoming legislative session.
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