Wrecks Continue Despite Trucker Texting Ban
Texting while driving is illegal in 46 U.S. states. However, if you are a trucker it’s illegal wherever you drive. Federal laws ban trucker texting on a hand-held device. Calls are also banned.
This has not stopped some truckers from blatantly flouting the law. A recent Channel 9 investigation in and around Charlotte in North Carolina found many truckers were texting and using hand-held phones on the road.
If you are behind the wheel of an 80,000-pound tractor-trailer, the consequences of a lapse in concentration can be very serious.
In 2014, two lawsuits were filed against a trucking company and a driver after a crash that claimed the lives of four college students on a bus in Oklahoma. The trucker was accused of distracted driving due to texting. A trucker was also accused of texting before a crash in 2015 that caused the deaths of five Georgia Southern University nursing students.
A year earlier, almost 16,000 truckers were ticketed for texting and driving. Just four of them had their license suspended and were taken off the road.
In other words, a lot of truckers are not taking that federal ban on cell phones very seriously. That’s terrible news for other drivers and passengers.
Trucker Texting is Linked to Numerous Wrecks
Trucker texting is a real threat to other road users. The sheer size and weight of a big rig mean these types of wrecks are usually the most serious we see on the highways of America.
The Federal Motor Carry Safety Administration (FMSCA) states commercial drivers who text while driving are 23.2 times more likely to be in a wreck than other truckers.
Texting is defined as manually entering information into any electronic device. It includes writing emails or accessing a webpage or a social media site.
CMV drivers who use a mobile device while driving are only allowed to operate a hands-free phone located in close proximity. The FMSCA rule prevents drivers from unsafely reaching for a device, holding a mobile phone, or pressing lot of buttons.
Violation of the rule carries civil penalties up to $2,750 and driver disqualification for repeat offenses. Trucking companies and other carriers are also prohibited from requiring or allowing their drivers to use any hand-held device or text while driving and may be subject to civil penalties up to $11,000.