The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has proposed making permanent the interim ban on texting while driving for tractor trailer drivers. The new rule would punish drivers or companies that don’t observe the texting ban with civil penalties and possible loss of license.
In January, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced an immediate ban on text messaging by commercial truck drivers while behind the wheel. The measure was only an interim rule, however, and more permanent legislation was not proposed until last month.
The importance of limiting distracted driving is emphasized when you look at the statistics provided by FMCSA research. Distracted driving is a major cause of tractor trailer accidents with texting being some of the more negligently distracting behaviors you can engage in. You are more than 20 times more likely to cause a serious accident if you are attempting to send or receive a text message. On average, a driver sending a text will take their eyes off the road for 4.6 out of every 6 seconds. This means that a driver traveling at 55 mph will take their eyes off the road long enough to travel the length of a football field every 6 seconds.
This measure is just one of many around the county to limit traffic injuries and fatalities caused by distracted driving. Here in Missouri, minors have been barred from texting and driving. Last year, President Obama signed an order saying all federal employees were restricted from texting while operated government vehicles or on government business.