A Missouri traffic crash near Gray Summit in 2010 has triggered a call for a national ban on cell phone use and text messaging by motorists.

Daniel Shatz was texting when he caused a deadly pileup near St. Louis. He was killed in the crash, as was Jessica Brinker, 15, who was in the back of a school bus that was hit. (Photos taken from Facebook.)

The National Transportation Safety Board says 19-year-old pickup truck driver Daniel Schatz of Sullivan sent or received 11 text messages in the 11 minutes before his pickup rammed the back of a bobtailed semi-tractor, and then was crushed by a following school bus which was rammed by a second bus from St. James High School.

Fifteen-year-old Jessica Brinker was killed on one of the buses and more than 35 people were hurt.

NTSB staff member Rob Malloy says nothing short of a ban on cell phone use while driving is good enough.

“Stepping away from a ban would communicate to the people that [texting] is safe,” he says. “We need to send a message saying this is not acceptable.”

The NTSB also is critical of Highway Patrol and state education department oversight of school bus inspections.  The agency says vehicle makers need to make forward collision avoidance systems standard equipment and says cell phone makers need to find a way to disable them in vehicles.

You can watch the entire hearing here (Open archived video on NTSB website):


Background stories

Two dead and 50 injured in Gray Summit Pileup (Aug. 5, 2010)

One of two killed in Gray Summit accident was Mizzou QB (Aug. 5, 2010)