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NTSB Recommends Cell Phone Ban for Truck Drivers

The National Safety Transportation Board (NTSB) issued safety recommendations to several federal agencies after significant investigations. The NTSB recommends that the federal government enact a mobile phone device for commercial motor vehicle operators, with an exception for emergency use. This safety recommendation aims to reduce the number of Missouri truck accidents caused by Missouri distracted driving.

The NTSB’s recommendation follows an investigation into a destructive semitrailer truck accident that killed 11 people. The tractor trailer crossed a 60-foot highway median, crashed through a cable barrier, crossed oncoming traffic to crash into a passenger van with 12 people inside. The truck driver and 10 van occupants were killed in the accident.

The NTSB determined that mobile phone use was the probable cause of the accident. The truck driver had made four phone calls just before the crash. In the 24 hour period preceding the accident, the truck used his mobile phone to make calls or send text messages nearly 70 times.

The NTSB submitted the recommendation to a number of federal agencies. The Federal Highway Administration, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration received the recommendation. The mobile device ban recommendation will not become law unless it is adopted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

Mobile phone restrictions for commercial motor vehicle drivers are increasing as research shows that mobile phone use is cause of Missouri truck accidents. Missouri bans commercial drivers from texting while driving. 34 other stands have similar bans. If the FMCSA adopted this recommendation, truck drivers around the nation would not able to text while operating a commercial motor vehicle.

Government regulation may incite backlash from industry professionals. However, some industry professionals are comfortable with a ban on texting while driving for truck drivers. Ozark truck drivers say that truck drivers make too many decisions to text or make phone calls on the road. One truck driver compared tractor trailers to 80,000 lb. missiles.