Cellphone industry: Ban 'manual texting' but not all phones in cars

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"As far as talking on wireless devices while driving, we defer to state and local lawmakers and their constituents as to what they believe are the most appropriate laws where they live," he continued.

Largent said the cellphone industry "remains focused on educating consumers about their responsibilities when they’re driving, especially inexperienced drivers," pointing to recent public service announcements that have been released by CTIA.

He said cellphone companies have been working with transportation regulators, and would continue to do. 

“In regards to NTSB’s recommendation number 12, we have always encouraged the industry to continue to develop new technology-based tools and offerings that are affordable and consumer-friendly that would create safer driving," he said. "The industry constantly produces new products and services, including those that can disable the driver’s mobile device." 

NTSB Chairwoman Deborah Hersman said the issue with distracted driving was bigger than keeping a driver's hands-free — instead, she said, it was about keeping their minds focused on the road.

"The distract there is not just when one manipulates something," Hersman said during a press conference in Washington. "It's a cognitive distraction.

"We know human beings struggle with [multi-tasking]," she said.