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Feds Ban Texting While Trucking

Feds Ban Texting While Trucking

Truckers and bus drivers may now be ticketed and fined for texting while driving, according to U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

Here’s an excerpt from a US DOT news release, issued on January 26, 2010:

“We want the drivers of big rigs and buses and those who share the roads with them to be safe,” said Secretary LaHood.  “This is an important safety step and we will be taking more to eliminate the threat of distracted driving.”

The action is the result of the Department’s interpretation of standing rules. Truck and bus drivers who text while driving commercial vehicles may be subject to civil or criminal penalties of up to $2,750.

"Our regulations will help prevent unsafe activity within the cab,” said Anne Ferro, Administrator for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). “We want to make it crystal clear to operators and their employers that texting while driving is the type of unsafe activity that these regulations are intended to prohibit." 

This news, while welcome to safety-conscious drivers and passengers, could be filed under any of the following departments:

The It’s-About-Time Department
The Thank-God-We-Arrived-Alive Department
The Well-Duh Department
The What?-Are-You-Kidding Department
The Whatever-Happened-to-Good-Old-Common-Sense Department

Undoubtedly, you can think of more spots where this news might fit.

Speaking from Personal Experience

Not long ago, I helped to chaperone a school field trip. Boarding the school bus, I was astonished to see a sign, taped to the dashboard by the bus driver’s seat. The sign read as follows:

No texting allowed
by driver
while school bus in is motion.

Frankly, only response fits here. As Blue-Collar Comedy Tour comic Bill Engvall says, “Here’s your sign.”

Related Items:

Is cellular phone usage safe while driving? Certainly, cell phones offer convenience, especially for commuters. Hands-free, voice-activated, or otherwise, how can drivers take precautions to avoid call-related dangers?

Unprotected Text Can Kill You
Everywhere you look, people are having text. Some even share text with people they do not know, or folks they haven't even met. You can see them in online chat rooms. "Give me your number. Text me, and I'll text you back," they say. Do they not realize what is going on here? Perhaps we need to develop safe text strategies.

My teenybopper has a phone; She really never is alone. It beeps and jitters day and night, Emitting tiny bluish light.

"Who is calling?" I am asking. Hold the phone! I'm multi-tasking. Munching lunch and punching keys, Driving fifty, with my knees, We converse, but in a hurry; Life zips by, a whirly flurry.

Friday evening, driving out West, putting our new four-wheel-drive to the test, I spotted the lights, which curtailed our fun-fest and veered for the shoulder, then, under arrest.

My neighbor knows this firsthand. Cruising down a county road, a few weeks ago, she heard her familiar message tone. She picked up her cellular phone and proceeded to check her incoming mail. Suddenly, she dropped her phone.

Tailgating is downright dangerous. In fact, "Following Too Closely" is considered a moving violation in most states. Yet people do it daily. What can you do, if someone hugs your bumper on the highway?

Has multi-tasking become our master? Why do we seem to be fighting time and traffic every day? Sometimes, only a crash course can teach us how to focus on the here and now.

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