In a story that should be targeted towards drivers of all cars, federal guidelines now make it illegal for truck and bus drivers to text while driving. If caught in the act, the drivers could face a $2,750 fine according to the Department of Transportation.
Todd Spencer, vice president of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, had kind words for the legislation – but also a little distaste:
“We support where they are going, but not how they got there. Making their action effective immediately bypasses normal regulatory rulemaking processes. Those processes allow actions to be vetted for unintended consequences as well as potential implementation and enforcement problems. We very much share in their goal, but their legal justification for taking immediate action raises many concerns.”
Legal justification? You mean saving lives? What enforcement problems? If a cop sees you texting while you’re hauling a massive amount of equipment, he’ll pull you over. However, that is speculation, as the DoT hasn’t yet explained how the new law will be enforced.
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is one of the largest national groups representing truck drivers.
Already, nineteen states have passed legislation banning texting while driving. Six have banned the use of handheld devices outright.
The pertinence of a law banning texting while driving completely is evident with the numbers. As reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 6,000 people died in crashes where the driver was distracted in 2008. Numerous other reports of texting-related accidents have strengthened the laws against the act. Personally, I’d like to see texting while driving completely outlawed. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration released a report that found that drivers take their eyes off the road for 4.6 seconds on average out of every six seconds while texting. It found that people who text while driving are 20 times more likely to get in an accident. How are these numbers not staggering enough for people to put down the phone?
I’m sure whatever you’re being told can wait until you at least stop at a red light. Don’t endanger yourselves or others by partaking in such a reckless act. I especially don’t want to see a semi truck driver texting while he’s pulling a ton of weight behind him.
President Obama even signed an order that bans federal employees from partaking in the distracting act – at least while driving government-owned cars. Let’s make the roads a little safer so the government doesn’t have to. They have enough business to take care of.
The inherent danger of texting while driving is obvious, but if you’d like to learn more then visit http://www.distraction.gov