US DOT Bans Texting at the Wheel
The US Department of Transportation (USDOT) today (01/26/2010) announced federal guidance to expressly prohibit texting by drivers of commercial vehicles such as large trucks and buses. The prohibition is effective immediately and is the latest in a series of actions taken by the Department to combat distracted driving.
The Department wants the drivers of big rigs and buses and those who share the roads with them to be safe, and will be taking more steps to eliminate the threat of distracted driving.
The action is the result of the Department’s interpretation of standing rules. Truck and bus drivers who text while driving commercial vehicles may be subject to civil or criminal penalties of up to $2,750.
“Our regulations will help prevent unsafe activity within the cab.”
– Anne Ferro, Administrator for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
FMCSA research shows that drivers who send and receive text messages take their eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds out of every 6 seconds while texting. At 55 miles per hour, this means that the driver is traveling the length of a football field, including the end zones, without looking at the road. Drivers who text while driving are more than 20 times more likely to get in an accident than non-distracted drivers. Because of the safety risks associated with the use of electronic devices while driving, FMCSA is also working on additional regulatory measures that will be announced in the coming months.
Visit www.distraction.gov to learn more about the efforts the U.S. Department of Transportation is working on to combat distracted driving.