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US Department of Transportation Bans Commercial Bus Drivers and Truck Drivers from Texting while Driving

The federal government has issued a nationwide ban that bars commercial truckers and bus drivers from text messaging while operating their vehicles. This ban goes into effect right away and any bus operators or truck drivers who are caught texting while driving are subject to a maximum $2,750 maximum penalty.

This prohibition is part of the Obama Administration’s efforts to curb distracted driving. Talking on a cell phone and texting while driving have proven particularly dangerous, and people have died in motor vehicle crashes throughout the US as a result.

Just last May 49 people were injured in a Boston MBTA trolley accident because the 24-year-old conductor was texting his girlfriend. While MBTA operators of buses, trains, and streetcars are no longer allowed to carry cell phones while on the job, among the rest of the Massachusetts driver population only school bus drivers are prohibited from talking on a cell phone while driving. Unlike a number of other US states, Massachusetts currently does not have a law banning drivers from texting or talking on handheld cell phones. However, yesterday the Joint Committee on Transportation approved a bill banning all drivers in the state from texting. It also bans drivers under 18 from talking on a cell phone. The Massachusetts Senate and House must approve the bill before it can become law.

Truck drivers who text reportedly increase their Massachusetts truck crash risk by up to 23 times. Truckers and bus drivers who text inevitably have to take their hands off the steering wheel and their eyes off the road. When this occurs, a public bus, a school bus, a tractor-trailer, a semi-truck, or an 18-wheeler truck turns into a dangerous and deadly fast-moving vehicle. Meantime, Some US Senators are calling on the US Transportation Department to extend its federal texting ban to all motorists.

It is never a good idea to text message or surf the Web while driving. In the event of a catastrophic Massachusetts motor vehicle collision, the negligent driver can become the defendant of a Boston injury case.

Mass. lawmakers propose law to ban text messaging while driving, Masslive.com, January 28, 2010
Senators urge expansion of federal ban on texting by truckers, bus drivers, StarGazette, January 26, 2010
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood Announces Federal Ban on Texting for Commercial Truck Drivers, US Department of Transportation
MBTA: Conductor in Boston trolley crash was texting his girlfriend, Boston.com, May 8, 2009
Related Web Resources:
Cell Phone Driving Laws, Governors Highway Safety Association
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association

Our Boston, Massachusetts truck accident lawyers and bus accident attorneys represent clients throughout the state.