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DOT seeks cell phone ban against truckers and bus drivers

How are we supposed to call 911 if to report accidents? drunk drivers? terrorism? suspicous activity?

Posted December 17, 2010

Last week, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) announced a proposal to ban the use of cell phones while driving by commercial truck and bus drivers. The government’s actions demonstrate its dedication to curbing distracted driving among commercial drivers, reducing the number of injuries and fatalities resulting from truck accidents.

If the proposed rule takes effect, approximately four million drivers will be subject to the ban. Government employees are already prohibited from using cell phones while driving.

The proposed ban follows a heavily publicized campaign against distracted driving led by Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. LaHood has been instrumental in the campaign to eliminate cell phone use in passenger vehicles. Further, he has rejected the safety value of “hands free” technology.

In a statement, LaHood noted the danger that arises when commercial drivers take their eyes off the road, even for a few seconds. Not only is the driver placed in peril, but everyone on the road shares in the risk.

Distracted driving remains a pressing safety concern. In 2009, almost 5,000 people were killed and 500,000 more were injured in motor vehicle accidents stemming from distracted driving, according to government safety data. Although the number of truck accidents decreased in 2009, distracted driving was a factor in at least nine percent of large truck accidents. A majority of truck accidents involve collisions with other vehicles.

Prior to the DOT’s proposed ban, some big companies already prohibited their drivers from cell phone use while driving on the job. Companies like UPS Inc. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. have banned their truck drivers from using cell phones while operating company trucks. LaHood hopes these safety standards become the norm for truck drivers nationwide.

Source: msnbc.com “U.S. proposes cell phone ban for truck, bus drivers,” 17 December 2010

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