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DOT Moves To Ban Texting By Commercial Drivers

Published by on March 31, 2010

The U.S. Department of Transportation has issued a proposed rule to ban texting by commercial drivers of buses and trucks.  The rule would make permanent a DOT interpretation announced in January 2010 banning such activity.  Violations of the new regulation can result in civil and criminal penalties.  Today’s story is here.  The DOT press release […]

The U.S. Department of Transportation has issued a proposed rule to ban texting by commercial drivers of buses and trucks.  The rule would make permanent a DOT interpretation announced in January 2010 banning such activity.  Violations of the new regulation can result in civil and criminal penalties.  Today’s story is here.  The DOT press release is here.  More after the break. 

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reports that drivers who text while driving take their eyes off the road an average of 4.6 out of every 6 seconds, and  are 20 times more likely to get into an accident.  According to a study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted driving was a factor in 5,870 vehicle crash fatalities and 515,000 injuries.  The new directive is part of the Department of Transportation’s campaign to end distracted driving, launched in September of 2009. 

In line with the new campaign, President Obama signed an Executive Order to ban texting by federal employees who drive government vehicles, which took effect December 30, 2009.  Currently, 20 states (including Maryland and Virginia) and the District of Columbia have laws that ban texting while driving for all drivers, whether commercial or not.  Due to the growing concern over distracted driving, employers would be well-advised to think about adopting driving policies for their employees, especially those who drive as part of their job.

The initial DOT press release from January 26, 2010, announcing the federal ban can be found here.

More NHTSA statistics can be found here.

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