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Ban on Cell Phone Use in Semis

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Christina Houghton6 years ago

The government has banned interstate truckers from texting while driving and has proposed a ban on the use of cell phones while trucks are in operation.

Based on the size alone, semi trucks pose a large risk to other vehicles on the road, especially in inclement weather. Thoroughly minimizing the amount of distractions for truckers will help keep the roads safe.

In 2009, The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported approximately 5,500 people were killed and another 500,000 were injured in accidents involving truckers who were distracted.

In a study called the Large Truck Crash Causation Study, The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reports that 10 percent of accidents involving large trucks were caused by distracted drivers.

Types of Distractions

According to the NHTSA, there are three types of distracted driving:

  1. Visual — Distractions that avert the driver’s eyes from the road
  2. Manual — Distractions that remove the driver’s hands from the steering wheel or stick shift
  3. Cognitive — Distractions that take the driver’s mind away from what they are doing, driving

These main distractions define many activities:

  • Texting
  • Talking with passengers
  • Reaching for a cell phone or dialing
  • Smoking
  • Daydreaming
  • Watching a movie in the vehicle or using a computer
  • Eating and drinking
  • Changing the music (radio, cd, or cassette)
  • Reading directions, a map, or using any other navigational device
  • Using a cb radio
  • Grooming

Many of these activities cross a multiple types of distractions, such as texting requires visual, manual and cognitive.

The United States Department of Transportation enacted laws that would make it very expensive and unappealing for truck drivers to drive and text. The rule states that if interstate truckers and bus drivers are caught they are subject to civil and criminal fines up to $2,750. In December 2010, The Department of Transportation continued to propose maximum penalties to drivers who used hand-held cell phones while driving. This rule even prohibits holding or dialing while the driver is operating the vehicle.

Drivers who are in violation could face maximum penalties of $2,750 per offense and motor carrier companies could face penalties of $11,000.

Not all carrier companies agree with the penalties. According to, some drivers do not think the laws are fair, because their cell phones help them keep in touch with clients, family members. The American Trucking Association agrees with the use of cell phones while driving, but does not support the ban of hands-free technology, while the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association states that there is enough legislation on cell phones and that other safety concerns should be discussed.

Contact an Experienced Truck Accident Attorney

Thomas J. Henry are available to respond to trucking accidents at any hour, day or night. Our lawyers understand that the immediate acquisition, or acquiring, of evidence is paramount to understanding how the accident occurred. Remember, your choice does matter. We are available 24/7, nights and weekends.


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