Ford Motor Co. has become the first automaker to openly call for a nationwide ban on the use of handheld cellular phones.
The maker’s unusually public pronouncement, which lent support to a measure now before Congress, comes as a new study by the Governors Highway Safety Association releases results of a new study on distracted driving. It found that in 80 out of 100 car crashes studies the driver had turned away from the road at the time of impact.
In particular, the GHSA study revealed that drivers are four times as likely to have a crash while using a handheld phone as those not talking while behind the wheel. But the data also raised a note of caution about efforts to curtail distracted driving, reflecting recent studies finding that existing bans on the use of handheld phones already in place have had limited impact.
A proposal by NY Democrat Carolyn McCarthy would compel all 50 states to ban motorists from using handheld phones while driving. And Pete Lawson, Ford’s Vice President of Government Affairs, has hailed that as a positive step.