States unlikely to heed NTSB call for cell ban

By JIM SALTER | December 16, 2011 | 3:20 PM EST

In this Aug. 5, 2010 photo, a crumpled pickup truck is seen between two St. James School District buses and a tractor-trailer on Interstate 44 near Gray Summit, Mo. Citing the wreck, in which investigators say the 19-year-old pickup driver was texting, federal transportation leaders this week pressed states to ban cell phone use by drivers. Despite the dangers, states appear unlikely to oblige. (AP Photo/St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Robert Cohen) EDWARDSVILLE INTELLIGENCER OUT; THE ALTON TELEGRAPH OUT

ST. LOUIS (AP) — After a texting teenager caused a fatal Missouri pileup involving two school buses, state lawmakers had a chance to toughen restrictions on driver cellphone use. It got filibustered.

The National Transportation Safety Board is citing that accident to call for an all-out ban on cellphone use by drivers — even hands-free devices.

Lawmakers give the proposal little chance at state capitols. While acknowledging safety concerns, they're wary of inconveniencing commuters and say a ban would be a deep government intrusion. Others say you can't legislate against every distraction and it would be unenforceable.

No state bans the use of hands-free devices for all drivers. Even in Missouri, where the bus crash occurred, the lawmaker who tried to broaden the texting ban believes a full-blown cellphone prohibition goes too far.