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Ban all cellphones in cars? Mass. can start with hand-helds

TALKING ON a cellphone while driving is a convenient, and accepted, part of modern life, especially when it’s done using a hands-free device. By recommending an outright ban on all cellphone use by drivers, the National Transportation Safety Board has instigated a difficult but sorely needed conversation about how far lawmakers should go to curb distracted driving, which is estimated to have caused more than 3,000 deaths in 2010 alone.

No state currently bans all forms of mobile communication while driving, so the NTSB has staked out an aggressive position. Its recommendations are controversial now, but it could ultimately prove prescient: From seat-belt requirements to smoking bans, it has often taken crusaders, armed with statistics, to shift public attitudes against popular but dangerous social norms.

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