On Tuesday, the NTSB said texting, emailing or chatting on a cellphone, even hands-free devices, while driving is simply too dangerous to be allowed, and urged a total ban except for emergencies.
The board says it was inspired by recent deadly crashes - including one in Missouri last year in which a teenager sent or received 11 text messages in 11 minutes before the accident. Two people were killed, 38 injured.
But such a total ban certainly would meet plenty of opposition from consumers, including businesses that see the devices as integral to their livelihoods, informs The Seattle Times.
Investigators are seeing more accidents involving distracted drivers who were talking or texting, resulting in 3,000 deaths last year.
The five-member board is recommending all 50 states, and the District of Columbia, ban all non-emergency use of electronic devices for drivers. GPS systems would be the exception.
"If we don't act now, how many lives will we lose in the next 30 years?" said board member Robert Sumwait, reports abc7.com.
In Florida, two bills have been introduced that would restrict cellphone use while driving. One would prohibit minors from talking and driving, and another would ban texting and driving.
While the NTSB doesn't have authority to impose restrictions, its recommendations carry weight with federal regulators, and congressional and state lawmakers. Florida is one of 15 states that does not ban texting and driving, according to The News-Press.
The agency's recommendation is focused on state governments. But the U.S. Congress, which can provide grants for certain highway-safety programs, can help ensure that state bans are effective. The Senate Commerce Committee Wednesday is slated to vote on provisions that would provide "distracted driving grants" aimed at encouraging states to prohibit young drivers from texting while driving and banning all drivers from using cellphones.
The board also said phone manufacturers and phone providers should take steps to reduce cellphone use while driving "by developing features that discourage their use" or that limit the ability of consumers to use their phones while a car is moving, says Wall Street Journal.