Tuesday, January 26, 2010

US Department of Transportation bans texting by drivers of commercial vehicles

The United States Department of Transportation announced today that it plans to ban texting by drivers of interstate motor carriers (such as tractor trailer drivers) and certain passenger buses. Violators of the new regulation will be hit with a fine of as much as $2,750.

The new rule will be incorporated into the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs), promulgated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, a part of the DOT, said Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood in a blog posting on the Department's official blog. This move follows an Executive Order from President Obama in October calling on federal agencies to ban texting while driving among federal employees and to educate employees and contractors on the dangers of distracted driving.

The Secretary noted that truck drivers who text while driving take their eyes off the road an average of five seconds per text message, and are approximately 23 times more likely to be involved in an accident or near accident than drivers who keep their eyes on the road.

The dangers of texting have been made increasingly clear by recent events, and is not limited to drivers on the road. In one high-profile accident, for example, it was discovered that the operator of a Los Angeles commuter train was text messaging when he ran through a stop signal, leading to a fatal collision with another train.

The Law Offices of Turkheimer & Hadden has represented may individuals seriously injured by drivers of commercial vehicles/tractor-trailers, and applauds all efforts of the government to make our roads safer. We encourage public and private motor carrier operators to take all action to ensure compliance with this new federal regulation to protect both their drivers and the public at large.

Read more about the dangers of distracted driving at the DOT's dedicated web site: www.distracted.gov

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