Conservative columnist Mona Charen contacted the NTSB and found out that the 3,000 fatalities statistic actually was for all distracted driving. Of those ~3,000 fatalities, the agency considered 995 to be due to cellphone use. So NTSB Chairman Hersman was misleading the public, exaggerating the risk of cellphone use by a factor of at least three.
How many of those 995 were drivers using hands-free phones?
UPDATE: Also: There’s No Reason To Ban Cellphone Use While Driving
A 2009 NHTSA study found that 80% of all car wrecks are caused by drivers eating or drinking — not cellphone use — with coffee-guzzling the top offender.
Let’s see Washington ban coffee drinking while driving. The Second American Revolution would begin three minutes after it passed. It would be the first thing to unify all Americans since, well, ever.
Look, Murdoc is opposed to distracted drivers, and that includes drivers distracted by cell phones. He could be convinced that a ban on texting was appropriate. He would even listen to arguments in favor of banning hand-held phones, though it would be a tough sell. Bans on hands-free phones are just plain stupid. Especially at a national level.
Oh, and for all those who keep telling Murdoc how much worse things are now that everyone is yapping on their phone all the time:
According to federal data, traffic deaths have fallen from 2.1 per 100 million vehicle miles in 1990, when virtually no one had a cellphone, to 1.1 in 2009, when almost everyone does.