The NTSB said states should prohibit all drivers from texting while operating a motor vehicle.

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The National Transportation Safety Board on Tuesday called for a nationwide ban on the use of cellphones while driving except in the case of emergencies.

The ban follows a multi-vehicle accident in Missouri last year in which two people died and 38 were injured by a driver who was reading and sending text messages.

More than 3,000 people died last year in distraction-related accidents, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

"No call, no text, no update, is worth a human life," NTSB Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman said in a press release.

A recent study by the Virginia Tech Transportation found that an accident on the road is 163 times more likely to happen if a driver is using their cellphone to text, e-mail or accessing the Internet.

The NTSB recommendation won't affect communications systems that are already built into cars, such as global positioning systems.

The NTSB can't force states to enforce a ban on cellphones, though changes may come from lawmakers over time.

Thirty-five states and Washington D.C. already prohibit texting for drivers, though not all of these states ban handheld cellphone use outright, according to Governors Highway Safety Association.

Last September, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration banned commercial drivers from text messaging while operating trucks and buses.

--Written by Olivia Oran in New York.

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