U.S. government bans truck, bus drivers from texting while driving

09:18, January 27, 2010      

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The U.S. government Tuesday issued a ban, forbidding truck and bus drivers from texting, as part of its policies to crack down on distracting driving that has consumed thousands of lives each year.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement that he has directed the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration ( FMCSA) to "use its existing authority to prohibit commercial truck and bus drivers from texting while driving, using any handheld cellphone or other device that takes a driver's attention off the road."

The ban is applied to all inter-state drivers of trucks, commercial buses and vans with more than eight passengers on board, said the statement, adding that the violation could lead to civil or criminal penalties of up to 2,750 U.S. dollars.

"We want the drivers of big rigs and buses and those who share the roads with them to be safe," said the secretary. "This is an important safety steps, and we will be taking more to eliminate the threat of distracted driving."

According to an FMCSA research, a driver takes his eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds out of every six seconds while texting, meaning that he is traveling the length of a football field without looking at the road if he drives at 88 kilometers per hour.

It also said that drivers who text while driving are more than 20 times more likely to get in an accident than non-distracted drivers.

Official statistics show that nearly 6,000 people died in the U. S. in 2008 and more than half a million injured due to distracted driving, and most of such incidents were caused when drivers were using their mobile phones, iPods or Blackberries.

Source: Xinhua
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