Chrysler has joined Ford in backing a federal ban on the use of hand-held mobile phones while driving. According to The Detroit News, Chrysler, Ford and Verizon Wireless have all announced their support of the Safe Drivers Act of 2011. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D, NY), would require the Transportation Department to study the impact of distracted driving over two years, especially on younger drivers. After that time, the agency would make a recommendation on minimum federal standards to ban cell-phone use while driving and appropriate penalties.

That's in spite of recent research by the Governor's Highway Safety Association that indicates distracted-driving legislation has had little to know actual impact on phone use behind the wheel.

Still, as The Detroit News points out, nine states and the District of Columbia have enacted laws aimed squarely at cell phone use. A federal standard would require all states to enforce the same penalties. General Motors, meanwhile, has declined to support the bill, opting instead to back Oprah Winfrey's efforts on distracted driving awareness.

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