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Shapiro & Appleton

Norfolk, VA Personal Injury Attorney Reports: USDOT Bans Truck Drivers' Cell Phone Use

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A new federal rule from the U.S. Department of Transportation prohibits handheld cell phone use by commercial truck and bus drivers while they are driving. This broadens a September 2010 rule that banned text messaging behind the wheel of a commercial bus or truck. Interestingly, his ban does not apply to school bus drivers, even when they cross state lines.

Research consistently shows that distracted drivers are more likely to get into accidents. Those accidents are made even worse when commercial buses and trucks are involved. Because of the sheer size of these vehicles, accidents they are involved in often result in injuries and deaths.

Drivers who violate the new federal handheld cell phone ban face severe penalties, including fines and being disqualified from operating a commercial vehicle. After two or more violations, states will suspend a driver's commercial license. Companies that hire drivers who violate the ban can also be fined. Penalties are severe, as they should be.

This ban is a great start to end driver distractions. Still, truck drivers can still utilize hands-free cell phones behind the wheel, and I worry about how well they can really pay attention to the road. Research shows that hands-free phone cell usage does significantly cut back on distractions, but drivers will no doubt still fumble to dial or simply to find their phone to use.

My colleagues and I applaud the USDOT for taking this initiative. If we can prevent some of the tragic accidents that occur because of cell phone distractions, then sacrificing phone calls behind the wheel will certainly be worth it.

CD

Richard N. Shapiro
Personal Injury & Wrongful Death Lawyer Serving Va Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake & all of Virginia
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