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Driven to distraction

August 1st, 2010 / By: / Safety & Codes

U.S. Department of Transportation regulates texting while driving for drivers of commercial vehicles.

The U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced in January federal guidelines to expressly prohibit texting by drivers of commercial vehicles such as large trucks and buses. “We want the drivers of big rigs and buses and those who share the roads with them to be safe,” said LaHood. “This is an important safety step and we will be taking more 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,” said Anne Ferro, Administrator for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). “We want to make it crystal clear to operators and their employers that texting while driving is the type of unsafe activity that these regulations are intended to prohibit.

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.

For more information, visit www.distraction.gov.

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