Cell phones in cars a risk for drivers, but no bans are necessary

The next time you get behind the wheel, the National Transportation Safety Board has some advice for you: Put down that cell phone.

Actually, it’s more than advice. The board Tuesday urged states to ban cell-phone use by drivers, except in emergencies. “No call, no text, no update is worth a human life,” the board’s chairman said.

We agree with this agency in terms of texts. We support Michigan’s ban on texting while driving. By definition, sending or reading a text takes a driver’s eyes away from the road. That is an unnecessary hazard.

Cell phones, however, are different. Good drivers can, and do, talk while on the road. Maybe it’s not the best decision, but neither is fiddling with the radio or brokering peace between kids who are arguing in the back seat.

It should remain a personal choice, not a law, whether individuals should talk on the phone while driving.