Distracted driving is becoming an "epidemic."
Federal officials this week identified a growing public safety threat, and motorists all across the country would be well advised to pay attention.
The National Transportation Safety Board characterized "distracted driving" as the "new DUI."
"It's becoming epidemic," said NTSB member Robert Sumwalt, noting that more than 3,000 fatalities across the country last year involved distracted driving while talking on cell phones or sending text messages.
In identifying this obvious threat, the NTSB called for a nationwide ban on the use of cell phones and text messaging devices.
There is no question that use of cell phones, for whatever purpose, has become a growing threat on the streets and highways. The average motorist can grasp the problem every day just by observing fellow drivers.
Further, news stories about cell phone-related fatalities seem to have little impact on people's habits. Those who drive while using their cell phones appear oblivious to the danger they pose to themselves and others.
The question is how to address the problem. Federal officials say they are preparing a public education campaign. Local communities or states can pass legislation.
The best solution would be for people to exercise greater caution than they do now. But, so far at least, that hasn't happened.