Here in Massachusetts and around the country, safety advocates have been calling for a ban on text messaging while driving, which has been proven to increase the likelihood of an auto crash. On Tuesday, the Transportation Department unveiled its new rule that bans interstate commercial truck and bus drivers from text messaging while driving. Those who violate the rule will be subject to civil or criminal fines up to $2,750.
According to the National Safety Council, text messaging and other cell phone-related activities cause more 1.6 million traffic accidents every year.
The department is working on new rules that cut down on the use of dashboard-mounted computers that some drivers use to communicate with dispatchers. While some companies discourage drivers from using such computers, many truckers still use the devices regularly. The department is also working on regulations that would govern when truckers are permitted to use cell phones for conversation.
Sources: DOT bans texting by bus and commercial truck drivers, USA Today, January 26, 2010 Rule Bans Texting for Truckers and Bus Drivers, New York Times, January 26, 2010
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