The National Transportation Safety Board recently recommended that commercial truck drivers be banned from using cell phones while driving. A horrific car accident that occurred in Kentucky in 2010 was the impetus behind the recommendation.
In that case, a trucker who was believed to have been talking on his cell phone at the time of the accident, crossed the left lane of Interstate 65, crossed a 65 foot wide median, drove through a cable barrier system, entered the opposite lane of traffic, and collided head on with a van carrying 12 people, killing 10 people.
As explained in this article from Truckinginfo.com, the ban is recommended because of the extreme dangers presented when an 18-wheeler crashes, but not everyone agrees with the proposed ban:
“Distracted driving is becoming increasingly prevalent, exacerbating the danger we encounter daily on our roadways,” said Deborah Hersman, NTSB chairman. “It can be especially lethal when the distracted driver is at the wheel of a vehicle that weighs 40 tons and travels at highway speeds”…
Cell phone distraction and regulation has been a hot topic recently in the industry. Texting was successfully banned last year, and hand-held cell phone use is expected to be banned later this year. While texting rules were accepted largely universally, other proposed bans have received mixed reactions from the industry.
The NTSB’s report on the incident and its recommendations can be found here.
Unfortunately, the NTSB cannot enforce the recommendations since it has no power to enact rules. Rather, its function is simply to advise other agencies and provide them with the tools and data needed to enact appropriate regulations. That means it’s up to the individual states and other agencies to actually enact the recommended rules, thus reducing the number of car accidents and making our roadways safer for everyone who uses them.
- NTSB Backs Transportation Dept.’s Trucker Phone Ban (phonescoop.com)
- Board Urges Cellphone Ban for All Commercial Drivers (nytimes.com)