Many states across the country have already placed bans against talking or texting on a cellular phone for drivers and now The Department of Transportation is implementing a texting ban while driving for large commercial truck and bus drivers.
DOT says that truck and bus drivers who text while driving commercial vehicles could be hit with civil or criminal penalties of as much as $2,750.
It was just recently determined by the National Transportation Safety Board that the 2008 collision in Chatsworth, California that involved a commuter train and a Union Pacific freight train was caused by the commuter train’s engineer texting while operating the train. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, 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 they text. Along with that, drivers who text while driving are more than 20 times likely to get in an accident than non-distracted drivers.
Many of today’s larger commercial truck fleets are equipped with electronic dispatch systems or fleet management systems. At this time the agency has not written in any guideline restrictions of using such devices. Commercial truck drivers can continue to use such devices to assist them with delivery to their destinations as well as using their cell phones in accordance with state laws that they are traveling in.