The N.T.S.B. is calling for a nationwide ban on using cellphones or text messaging while driving, except for emergencies. The ban would apply to hands-free as well as hand-held devices.
Phone systems installed in the vehicle by the manufacturer would be allowed.
The agency has tried to limit driver use of portable electronic devices in vehicles for 10 years, but this is its most far-reaching recommendation to date.
"How we do reverse this trend, where almost half of our young drivers are texting or emails?" said N.T.S.B. Board Member Robert Sumwalt. "I think -- pointed out, it takes 3 things: It takes education, it takes laws and it takes strong enforcement of those laws."
Congress would have to approve the ban, before it could go into effect.