Texting while driving ban on commercial vehicle drivers | Kisling, Nestico & Redick
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Written by
KNR Legal
Date posted
December 17, 2014

Many highway traffic safety officials in Ohio and elsewhere in the U.S. are putting efforts into informing the public about the dangers of distracted driving. Distracted driving is defined as any activity that distracts the driver’s attention from the task of driving. One of the major factors that distract a driver is cellphone use. Considering that a vast majority of people are into technology and handheld gadgets, texting while driving is an epidemic on highways. It is also a great concern among commercial vehicle drivers.

Texting requires manual, visual and cognitive attention from a person. Because of this, it is the most dangerous distraction to drivers, particularly to commercial drivers who operates large vehicles — such as tractor trailers and coach buses.

As a result, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration put a ban against texting while driving commercial vehicle drivers. These drivers are also prohibited from using handheld mobile phones behind the wheel. The federal texting while driving ban also applies to interstate truck and bus drivers, as well as drivers who ship large quantities of hazardous materials.

The federal texting while driving ban was implemented to protect the public from possible commercial vehicle accidents attributed distracted driving. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, a tractor trailer truck travelling at 55 miles-per-hour needs 296 feet to fully stop. If the driver is texting while driving, the longer reaction time and added distance before stopping could greatly increase the risk of a crash.

Both motor carriers and drivers have a responsibility to prevent commercial vehicle accidents as a result of texting while driving. Employers should properly inform their drivers about the federal ban by establishing a written policy about the rule and the intent of the company to comply with the restriction. Any violations or accidents caused by texting while driving would lead to legal consequences of both the employer and driver.

Source: Safety.BLR.com, “Commercial vehicle safety and distracted driving,” Accessed on Dec. 9, 2014