Legislation to Ban Texting for Truck and Bus Drivers Proposed

Imagine being behind the wheel of a commercial truck or a bus traveling along the freeway at 55 miles per hour and closing your eyes every so often, long enough to allow the vehicle to travel the length of a football field each time. Needless to say, putting oneself and other drivers in such a dangerous situation is an extremely scary thought. This is what happens every time a driver sends and receives text messages while driving. Research conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has shown that a texting driver takes his or her eyes off the road for 4.6 out of every 6 seconds.

As a result of its research, FMCSA is proposing a federal regulation that would make it illegal to send and receive text messages while driving a commercial vehicle or bus on interstate routes. Under the proposed law, a driver caught texting could be fined or even lose the license. In order to gain public input on the proposed law, FMCSA has teamed up with the e-Rulemaking Initiative hosted by Cornell University. The partnership will allow the public to chime in on the proposed law by visiting www.RegulationRoom.org.

In September of 2009, FMCSA announced its plan to pursue the new law at the Distracted Driving Summit. Since sending and receiving text messages make drivers 20 times as likely to end up in an accident, it has come to the forefront of FMCSA's struggle to make the roads safer by limiting distracted driving.

This is not, however, the first action taken by the federal government in regard to text messaging. President Barack Obama signed an executive order that directed employees of the federal government to refrain from text messaging while operation a vehicle owned by the federal government. The order went into effect on Dec. 20, 2009.


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