U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced today federal guidelines to prohibit texting by drivers of commercial vehicles such as large trucks and buses.
"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."
The ban on texting for commercial drivers is effective immediately. Truck and bus drivers who text while driving commercial vehicles may be subject to civil or criminal penalties of up to $2,750.
"Our regulations will help prevent unsafe activity within the cab," said Anne Ferro, Administrator for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
"We want to make it crystal clear to operators and their employers that texting while driving is the type of unsafe activity that these regulations are intended to prohibit."
FMCSA 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. Drivers who text while driving are more than 20 times more likely to get in an accident than non-distracted drivers. Because of the safety issues related to the use of electronic devices while driving, FMCSA is also working on additional regulatory measures that will be announced in the coming months.