The National Transportation Safety Board Tuesday recommended all states ban the use of cell phones by motorists. That would include outlawing use of cellular devices to talk and send text or email messages - even with hands-free technology.
That proposal would be more extensive than a bill in Ohio which would ban texting while driving. That bill was passed by the House last summer and now is in a Senate committee.
While that proposal could be amended to include a ban on any cell phone use by drivers, even those using hands-free devices, we think the bill in its existing form would be a good start. We still urge state senators to approve the legislation; if deemed necessary, such a law could be amended later.
Certainly, motorists should keep their attention on driving and their hands on the wheel, which would preclude composing text messages. If further research or statistics show use of hands-free devices by drivers poses a significant risk, the legislature could consider expanding the law.
Meanwhile, senators should not delay in restricting use of cell phones in ways that already have been shown to be hazardous.