NTSB: Ban Phones While Driving Agency recommends much stricter rules across the nation By Newser Editors and Wire Services Posted Dec 13, 2011 2:52 PM CST 56 comments Comments The NTSB says the nation need tougher rules on the use of phones while driving. (AP Photo/Pat Wellenbach, File) (Newser) – States should ban all driver use of cell phones and other portable electronic devices, except in emergencies, the National Transportation Safety Board said today. The recommendation, unanimously agreed to by the five-member board, applies to both hands-free and hand-held phones and significantly exceeds any existing state laws restricting texting and cellphone use behind the wheel. The board made the recommendation in connection with a deadly highway pileup in Missouri last year. The board said the initial collision in the accident near Gray Summit was caused by the inattention of a 19-year-old-pickup driver who sent or received 11 texts in the minutes immediately before the crash. He was killed, along with a student in one of two school buses caught up in the crash. While the NTSB doesn't have the power to impose restrictions, its recommendations carry significant weight with federal regulators and congressional and state lawmakers.