It seems like a no-brainer. Using handheld personal electronics while driving a car simply isn't compatible. So now the NTSB is asking all states to introduce strict laws to limit their use.
So far 30 of the 50 states have some kind of ban in place, but the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is worried that a patchwork of rules for each state is too confusing, so they have introduced their own recommendations.
They say states should ban all handheld portable electronics, except those involved directly with operating the car such as GPS units. Cellphones used with hands-free devices would still be allowed, as would calls made to report emergencies.
Because traffic laws are determined individually by the states, the Feds can't simply pass a law with nationwide jurisdiction. In the past with things like mandatory seat belt use laws, the Feds have used the threat of withholding Federal road construction dollars to get everyone in line, but there is no sign that they plan to use that leverage in this case.
Enforcement remains a real problem with laws like this, and even in states with an existing ban, compliance tends to be pretty low. In car technology is also changing very rapidly, blurring the line between banned and legal devices.
Ultimately I feel there needs to be a technological solution to this problem, which would make certain dangerous tasks impossible while driving. The trick is finding a way to stop the driver, without restricting the ability of any passengers in the car to use their tech.