U.S Transportation Secretary, Ray LaHood announced a regulatory ban of texting by drivers of commercial vehicles such as large trucks and buses, along with stiff fines.
The prohibition is effective immediately. Truck and bus drivers who text while driving commercial vehicles may be subject to civil or criminal penalties of up to $2,750.
Secretary LaHood says that commercial truck and bus drivers as well as those who share the roads with them should be safe.
"Our regulations will help prevent unsafe activity within the cab,"said Anne Ferro, Administrator for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
FMCSA research shows that drivers who send and receive text messages take their eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds out of every 6 seconds while texting. At 55 miles per hour, the driver is traveling the length of a football field, without looking at the road.
Drivers who text while driving are more than 20 times more likely to get in an accident than non-distracted drivers. Because of the safety risks associated with the use of electronic devices while driving, FMCSA is also working on additional regulatory measures to me announced in the future.
During the September 2009 Distracted Driving Summit, LaHood announced the Department's plan to pursue actions, to reduce the risks posed by distracted driving.
President Obama signed an Executive Order for federal employees not to engage in text messaging while driving government-owned vehicles or with government-owned equipment. Federal employees were required to comply with the ban starting on December 30, 2009.
Drivers can follow the progress of the U.S. Department of Transportation in working to combat distracted driving www.distraction.gov.