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What's in, what's out of NTSB electronics-while-driving ban

7:31 PM, Dec 14, 2011   |    comments
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ATLANTA -- By now you've probably heard the National Transportation Safety Board, or NTSB, is urging states to ban the use of electronics while driving except for emergencies.

RELATED | NTSB recommends ban on driver cell phone use

And you've probably then wondered, what specifically does this mean?

First, what would not be allowed? In the NTSB's proposal, states would ban drivers from using the phone for anything that doesn't assist that particular drive. This means no phone calls, text messages, or e-mails. The ban would include hands-free devices like Bluetooth and music devices like iPods.

As for what would be allowed? Basically, if it assists the drive, it's OK. This means GPS devices are fair to use, as are GPS apps on a SmartPhone.

On top of that, the NTSB's plan allows drivers to use anything installed into the car by the manufacturer. This means a driver could make a phone call while driving but would have to use the car's installed system to do it.

Finally, the ban makes exceptions for emergencies. According to an NTSB spokesperson, this one is essentially up to the interpretation of the individual states. Of course, in reality, the entire ban is up to the states to interpret. The NTSB can make all the recommendations it wants, but ultimately the individual states have to pass individual laws -- and there's no guarantee state officials will do so.

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