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Published December 13, 2011, 10:54 PM

NTSB recommends ban of cell phone use while driving

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - It took 134 days, but the City of Fargo has finally issued its first texting and driving citation. Now the National Transportation and Safety Board is recommending police and law enforcement get a whole lot tougher on distracted driving.

It took 134 days, but the City of Fargo has finally issued its first texting and driving citation. Now the National Transportation and Safety Board is recommending police and law enforcement get a whole lot tougher on distracted driving.

The National Transportation and Safety Board is asking lawmakers to consider banning all cell phone use in cars. But is it something we need here in Fargo? We found an overwhelming majority of people have one very strong opinion on the issue.

Andrew Brinkman – MSUM Student: “I think if you're going to be texting, you should pull over, but I don't see a problem talking if you have your phone on speaker phone.”

Chris Staszko - Moorhead: “To me, it sounds like more government control which is never a good idea.”

The Board's recommendation included both hand-held and hands-free devices, with the only exception coming in the case of emergencies. But no matter the generation, everyone we talked to believes texting and driving, and talking and driving, are two very different things.

Kristina Sakry – MSUM Student: “I think texting and driving is horrible because I've seen accidents and had friends who've gotten into accidents from it, but talking on the cell phone is a big deal.”

Lucy Tabatt: It's pretty hard to text as you're driving along. I think that's more dangerous than cell phone use.

The Fargo Police Department issued its first distracted driving citation Monday morning around 6:30. Fargo police say they cited a 19 year-old male for driving 39 in a 25 near Carl Ben Eielson Middle School. He admitted he was texting.

Lt. Joel Vettel – Fargo Police: “We need to do a very good job of educating our officers, but also a very good job of educating the public about why we're doing this and what our real concerns are.”

North Dakota is one of 35 states nationwide that has distracted driving laws. When asked about a complete ban on cell phone use, Lieutenant Joel Vettel said, “what may be needed in larger cities like Los Angeles may not be the same as what's needed here.”

Lt. Joel Vettel: “I think anything that anything to improve overall safety within our roadways is a good thing, but I don't think we should jump to conclusions and take one statistic or one study and say that's law or something we are going to rely solely on.”

The National Transportation and Safety Board's recommendation is just that at this point, a recommendation. In order for it to be law, it would need to be passed at the local and-or state level.

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