The recommendation is the most far-reaching on record by the NTSB, which in the past 10 years has increasingly sought to curb the usage of portable electronic devices. It has recommended such bans for novice drivers, school bus drivers, and commercial truckers.
The new recommendation, if implemented, would ban non-emergency phone calls and text messaging by operators of every vehicle on the road.
It would not apply to hand-free devices, or to passengers.
The recommendation surfaced after it was revealed that a 19-year-old pickup truck driver involved in a deadly highway pileup in Missouri last year sent or received 11 texts in the 11 minutes prior to the accident, the NTSB said today.
The truck driver sent six texts and received five texts, with the last text coming just seconds before his pickup traveling at 55 mph crashed into the back of a tractor trailer, beginning a chain reaction of sorts.
The pickup truck was rear-ended by a school bus, which in turn was rammed by a second school bus.
The pickup driver and a 15-year-old student on one of the school buses involved in the accident were killed.
Thirty-eight others were injured in the August 5 accident near Gray Summit, Missouri last year.
The accident is a “big red flag for all drivers,” NTSB chairman Deborah Hersman said at a meeting to determine what caused the accident.
“Driving was not his only priority,” Hersman said. “No call, no text, no update is worth a human life.”