We take a look at what the news media got wrong and what can be learned for future breaking news coverage.
There’s been a lot of reaction, positive and negative, to yesterday’s call from the National Transportation Safety Board for states to ban all cell phone use– even hands-free– while driving.
Among the naysayers:
Those in favor include:
Mary Maguire, spokesperson for AAA, told Here & Now‘s Robin Young that distracted driving is a serious problem and she hopes the NTSB recommendations provoke debate about the topic.
However, she says it would be difficult to garner the kind of public support needed to forge these recommendations into law.
“I do think that it’s probably unrealistic because there is not one state in the union that has an overall ban. So I think that gives us an indication of legislative sentiment as well as public sentiment,” she said.
NTSB chairwoman Deborah Hersman said she realized the ban might be unpopular but that “no call, no text, no update is worth a human life,” she said. “This is a difficult recommendation, but it’s the right recommendation and it’s time,” she said.
In giving the reasoning for the recommendation, Hersman said the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that 3,000 people lost their lives last year in “distraction-related accidents.”
The board made the recommendation following a deadly highway pileup in Missouri last year in which a teenager was found to have sent and received 11 text messages in the 11 minutes before the accident.
Nine states now ban the use of hand-held cell phones while driving and 35 states have laws against texting while driving.
And contrary to popular belief, research from the National Safety Council shows that hands-free devices offer no safety benefits for drivers.