Commercial Truck Cell Phone Ban Hopes to Enhance Road Safety
On January 3, 2012, a new safety related ban went into effect for commercial truckers – no more hand-held cell phones while driving. The new law – which also applies to bus drivers – affects four million drivers on the nation’s roads, according to ABC2news.com. Drivers who fail to follow the law face stiff penalties:
- Drivers may be fined up to $2,750 for each offense
- Companies may be fined $11,000 for allowing drivers to use hand-held phones
- Drivers with multiple convictions face commercial license suspension by the state
According to CNN.com, the ban is the culmination of a decade of effort by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) to limit driver use of distracting devices. It applies to non-emergency calls and texting. According to NTSB Chairwoman Deborah Hersman, distracted driving has been a problem “since the Model T,” but the problem exploded with the introduction of portable smart phones. About 13.5 million drivers are using hand-held phones on the road at any given moment, according to a recent National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) study, a factor that contributed to 3,092 distracted driving fatalities last year. “This (distracted driving) is becoming the new DUI,” said NTSB member Robert Sumwalt in CNN.com. “It’s becoming epidemic.” How effective will the ban be? Experts disagree. Some predict that the cell phone ban will reduce truck accidents and ultimately lower insurance rates for commercial trucking and bus companies. Others believe that enforcement will be problematic and will have no real effect on accident rates. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident with a distracted driver, contact an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss your case and determine your options.