The National Transportation Safety Board today made a far-reaching recommendation to ban all non-driving-related use of personal electronic devices while in the driver's seat, including hands-free use. The recommendation was made to all US states, some of which already have laws on the books regarding cellphone use while driving. So what's a "driving-related" use? The NTSB's director was specific about wanting to ban making phone calls, sending texts, and making Facebook updates, but gave a vague answer regarding possible provisions that would allow for driving-related uses like GPS navigation; additionally, no specific devices or technologies were listed as offenders. Passengers can breathe easy, as the recommendation only applies to those operating vehicles.
The NTSB cited studies regarding electronic device use behind the wheel in justifying its recommendation — it argues that distractions are not just tangible in nature, and that even hands-free use creates a cognitive distraction that has deadly results. While the agency does not have the power to create or enforce restrictions, it can influence federal regulators and state and local governments.