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Hands-free or hand-held, National Safety Council says cellphones shouldn't be used by motorists

January 12, 2009 |  9:00 am

The National Safety Council today announced that it no longer believes motorists should be using cellphones while driving -- whether they're hand-held devices or not. The reason: a number of recent studies that the council says shows cellphone conversations dangerously distract motorists.

"We think the science and research is clear," said Janet Froetscher, the president and chief executive of the council. "There are times when you say that the data is so compelling that we have to do something about it."

The big question, of course, is what the council is prepared to do about it. Several states, including California, have recently adopted hands-free laws, and it seems unlikely at this point that lawmakers will rip those up and make them tougher.

Froetscher said that the council will lobby states for tougher laws. In particular, she said the council will also talk with businesses about getting employees to stop driving while on duty.

-- Steve Hymon