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Truckers, Bus Drivers Banned from Texting While Driving

By David Sims, TMCnet Contributing Editor

Here we go again.
Matt Richtel's Technology blog in The New York Times is reporting that the Department of Transportation “plans to announce new rules Tuesday that will prohibit interstate commercial truckers and bus drivers from sending text messages while they are operating moving vehicles.”
Offenders run the risk of civil or criminal fines of up to $2,750.
“Stemmed from a broader effort by the Transportation Department to reduce distracted driving,” Richtel said, adding that, at the summit on the topic last October, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood pledged to crack down on distracted driving by truckers and bus drivers and establish rules governing not just their use of phones and other devices to text and talk, but also the use of computers mounted on dashboards that are used to communicate with dispatchers.
Well, if LaHood wants to really cut down on distracted driving, why doesn’t he find what the top 10 causes of driver distraction which lead to crashes are and start there? You won't find texting on that list. But it is the easiest and most politically expedient scapegoat, so that's where he starts.
According to Aubrey Allen Smith, author of The Truth About Trucking, the top ten causes of truck accidents, in order, are Prescription Drug Use, Traveling Too Fast, Unfamiliar with Roadway, Over-the-counter Drug Use, Inadequate Surveillance, Fatigue, Illegal Maneuver, Exterior Distraction, Inadequate Evasive Action and Aggressive Driving Behavior.
In fact, according to, the majority of accidents involving trucks aren't even the trucker's fault.
“The majority of the truck accidents are caused because of an error on the part of the driver of other smaller vehicles involved in the accidents,” officials said.
So when you see LaHood outlawing prescription drug use and drivers using roads they're not familiar with, as well as passing laws against driving in a truck's blind spot, you'll know he's serious. Until then, he's not.

David Sims is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of David’s articles, please visit his columnist page. He also blogs for TMCnet here.

Edited by Kelly McGuire