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Hickenlooper Sounds Off On NTSB Cellphone Ban Recommendation

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(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

DENVER (CBS4) – A horrific crash that killed two people may be the catalyst for tighter laws banning cellphone use while driving.

In Colorado it is illegal for any driver to text behind the wheel. Now the National Transportation Safety Board wants to make the law even tougher. It’s recommending states ban the use of cellphones by all drivers.

Gov. John Hickenlooper told CBS4 he wouldn’t be surprised if Colorado lawmakers take up a bill that would make talking on the phone while driving illegal.

Federal regulators said on Tuesday that texting, emailing or using any cellphone — even hands free — is simply too dangerous behind the wheel.

“It’s about changing attitudes and changing level of acceptance,” an NTSB official said.

The NTSB says no call is worth a life.

There are 35 states that ban texting while driving, including Colorado. Hickenlooper says he’d like to see the NTSB report before making any recommendation on cellphones and driving.

“Making this kind of recommendation, there’s going to be a body of data there that compelled them to make this recommendation. I suspect there will be a number of legislators,” Hickenlooper said. “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard about accidents — several — and I’ve heard about two or three times, that means there’s been hundreds of people who were just texting at that moment and then had an accident.”

The NTSB’s recommendation stems from a horrific crash in Missouri. A 19-year-old driver caused the deadly accident after sending 11 text messages in 11 minutes just before hitting another vehicle and causing a chain reaction. Two school buses were involved. Two people died and 38 were injured.

The NTSB’s recommendation makes an exception for use of phones in emergency situations. While it can’t force laws, NTSB recommendations carry significant weight.

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