The National Transportation Safety Board’s recent recommendation that all 50 states ban all cell phone (including hands-free) and personal electronic device use when driving got a lot of attention. Now it turns out that the NTSB’s chairman, Deborah Hersman, has knowingly used false statistics to promote that proposed ban. The NTSB’s recommendation came in the wake of the report on a multi-vehicle fatality accident in Gray Summuit Missouri, where texting behind the wheel was determined to be one (but not the only) contributing factor. In her opening statement to the report, which is still on the NTSB web site, Hersman said,
And it was over just like that. It happened so quickly. And, that’s what happened at Gray Summit. Two lives lost in the blink of an eye. And, it’s what happened to more than 3,000 people last year. Lives lost. In the blink of an eye. In the typing of a text. In the push of a send button.
I think that any reasonable person would agree that Chairman Hersman is implying that 3,000 people a year are killed in road accidents caused by texting. That’s simply not true.