Truck and bus drivers who text while driving commercial vehicles may be subject to penalties of up to $2,750. The DOT action doesn’t prohibit the use of cell phones for purposes other than text messaging.
Nineteen states and the District of Columbia already prohibit all drivers from texting behind the wheel, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association. Another 10 states restrict texting by novice drivers.
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration 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, this means the driver is traveling the length of a football field, including the end zones, without looking at the road.
The prohibition is the latest in a series of actions taken by DOT to combat distracted driving since DOT Secretary Ray LaHood convened a national summit on the issue last September.
Drivers who text while driving are more than 20 times more likely to get in an accident than non-distracted drivers.
— Staff reports
TRANSPORTATION IMPROVED modestly from November to early January, but overall economic activity remained low, the Federal Reserve said in its Beige Book report. Freight transport businesses saw a slight upturn in volume, but shipments remain well below year-earlier levels and margins remained depressed. Businesses expect modest gains in 2010.
A DEADLINE EXTENSION to June 30 for submission of Driver Vehicle Inspection Reports and Driver Vehicle Examination Reports was announced by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Other provisions of the Dec. 17, 2009, compliance date remain unchanged.
THE U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL Protection Agency proposed the strictest health standards to date for smog, also known as ground-level ozone, which forms when emissions from motor vehicles, industrial facilities, power plants and landfills mix with sunlight. The agency is proposing to replace the standards set by the Bush administration with stricter levels.
TCA names finalists in driver contests
The Truckload Carriers Association named finalists for its 2009 Owner-Operator Driver of the Year and 2009 Company Equipment Driver of the Year contests.
Competing for the owner-operator title, co-sponsored by TCA and Overdrive, are Steven Recker of Warren Transport, and Larry Severson and Woodrow Walker, both of Dart Transit.
For the company equipment contest, co-sponsored by TCA and Truckers News, the contenders are Gordon Colvin of Con-way Truckload, Richard Gassman of Greatwide Dedicated Transfer and Brian Rhodes of Con-way Truckload.
The winners will be announced at TCA’s annual convention, Feb. 28-March 3, in Las Vegas.
The finalists and grand prize winners will be recognized for their performance record, safety, efforts to enhance the trucking industry’s image and contributions to their community.