U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today banned texting by drivers of commercial vehicles such as large trucks and buses, effectively immediately.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that more then 6,000 deaths are caused each year by distracted driving and hundreds of thousands more people are seriously injured.
In spite of clear evidence that the problem is growing, and NHTSA’s role to promote highway safety, the government has been slow to regulate electronic devices that are becoming prevalent in all types of vehicles.
The National Safety Council has called for a complete ban of cell phone use by drivers of any moving vehicle. Research shows that talking on a cell phone is the equivalent of drunk driving.
The prohibition is the latest in a series of critics say are largely symbolic moves taken by the Department to combat distracted driving since the Secretary convened a national summit on the issue last September.
“We want the drivers of big rigs and buses and those who share the roads with them to be safe,” said Secretary LaHood. “This is an important safety step and we will be taking more to eliminate the threat of distracted driving.” (more…)