NTSB recommends no cell phones for drivers in wake of Aug., 5, 2010 tragic accident in Gray Summit

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Missour New Horizon
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo.
-- The National Transportation Safety Board says cell phone usage in moving vehicles is unsafe at any speed.

The board is recommending states ban the use of cell phones and other electronic devices by drivers, except in emergencies.

The ruling comes in the wake of its investigation into an Aug. 5, 2010 crash near Six Flags St. Louis that resulted in the death of a 19 year old driver and a passenger on a school bus. In addition, 35 others were injured in the chain reaction crash.

According to the investigation, the 19-year-old driver of a pick up truck plowed into the back of a tractor trailer rig that was stopped for road construction along eastbound Highway 44 near Gray Summit. Two school buses loaded with students from St. James, Missouri, on their way to an outing at Six Flags then plowed into back of the pick up and each other.

The investigation established that the 19 year old driver of the pickup truck had received five text messages and transmitted six in the moments leading up to the crash, with the last message at the approximate time of the crash.

The NTSB report concludes that Daniel Schatz, the driver of the pick up, caused the initial collision due to inattention dealing with the cell phone. The drivers of the school buses were also sighted in the report for inattention and following to closely.

In response, the NTSB is recommending states ban all portable electronic communications equipment in motor vehicles. The board does not have any enforcement ability to implement the recommendation, so it is issuing a plea to the states to use high profile advertising campaigns to get the message across.

In all, 35 states have complete bans on texting while driving. Missouri bans texting while driving for drivers 21 and under.