Photograph by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images.
Federal investigators on Tuesday recommended that states ban the use of cellphones by drivers except in emergencies.
The National Transportation Safety Board's recommendation followed a finding by the board that text-messaging played a key role in a deadly highway pile-up in Missouri last year that killed a 19-year-old driver and a 15-year-old student on one of the school buses involved in the crash, the Associated Press reports.
Investigators found that the driver had sent six messages and received another five in the 11 minutes before his pickup truck crashed into the back of a tractor truck, sparking a chain collision that involved two school buses. In all, nearly 40 people were injured in the accident.
The recommendation, unanimously agreed to by the independent board's five members, includes hands-free phones as well as held-held devices. While a number of states have existing laws on the books that restrict cellphone use by drivers, the panel's recommendation easily exceeds those.
The board doesn't have the power to impose the cellphone ban on its own, but its recommendations carry a lot of weight with lawmakers who will ultimately decide whether to institute the restrictions on cellphone use.