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Federal agency recommends trucker cellphone ban

After a massive tractor-trailer crash took the lives of 11 people in 2010, members of the National Transportation Safety Board are taking action. In hopes to prevent future fatal truck accidents, the NTSB is recommending a ban on all cellphone use behind the wheel of tractor-trailers, 18-wheelers, buses, and other commercial vehicles.

The NTSB and other federal agencies had previously pushed for commercial drivers to be banned from using hand-held cellphones and sending text messages while driving large trucks. Following the fatal crash, which an investigator concluded was the result of the truck driver's looking away from the road to place a call on his cellphone, the NTSB decided to make the ban more stringent.

Now, the recommended ban will forbid drivers of large trucks and buses from any cellphone use while they are behind the wheel. However, the NTSB does not have the power to create laws, so in order for the ban to become legally binding, the legislatures of all 50 states must pass their own cellphone bans. It is unlikely that this will happen in the near future, especially because federal agencies do not even appear to be on the same page in terms of what they recommend. For example, the Governors Highway Safety Association recommends that trucking companies and other employers create their own policies regulating truck driver cellphone use.

Regardless of the outcome of the ban, any action to improve the safety of our highways and to decrease the occurrence of motor vehicle accidents is a positive step.

If you have been injured in a truck accident caused by another driver's negligence, please contact Breslin & Breslin for a free consultation.

Source: Associated Press, "Ban recommended on trucker cell phone use and texting," Brett Barrouquere, Sept. 14, 2011

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