A teenage driver responsible for one of the worst car accidents in recent memory sent and received 11 texts in the 11 minutes just before the accident, according to a federal safety official.
The accident occurred in Missouri in 2010, when a pickup truck crashed into the back of a tractor trailer truck. The pickup was then rear-ended by a school bus, which in turn was rear-ended by another school bus.
The driver of the pickup and a 15-year-old student on one of the buses were killed. 38 other people involved in the accident were severely injured.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has determined that the driver was manually, visually and cognitively distracted.
The NTSB recommended that all states ban the use of cell phones and other hand-held electronics. If enacted, the ban will include both hand-held and hands-free electronics.
In the past few years, there have been other accidents that involved texting. In California, 25 people died in a train crash because the engineer was texting. In Philadelphia a tugboat captain died while he was talking on his cellphone and using his laptop. Finally, there was a Northwest Airlines flight that flew 100 miles past its destination because both of the pilots were using their laptops.
In previous years, the NTSB has stopped short of banning all hand-held electronic devices in passenger cars and has only banned them in commercial vehicles like tractor trailer trucks and bus drivers.
About two out of 10 Americans admit to texting while driving, while about half of the drivers between the ages of 21 and 24 say that they have texted at the wheel.
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