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Safety board recommends ban on truckers and cell phones

Should truckers and other commercial drivers be banned from speaking on cell phones or texting messages while they are driving? According to one federal safety agency, the answer is a resounding "yes."

Officials with the National Transportation Safety Board said that such a ban would help reduce the number of fatal truck accidents on the nation's highways.

The Associated Press recently covered a hearing in Washington, D.C., when officials with the federal agency heard testimony regarding a truck driver who, while using his cell phone, allegedly caused an accident that killed 11 people on an interstate highway in 2010. After hearing the details of this tragic trucking accident, National Transportation Safety Board members voted to support a ban that would also include the use of hands-free devices.

One board member quoted in the Associated Press story said that the board's ruling may not be popular among truck drivers. But, the board member said, popularity is not the important factor here. What does matter, she said, is that the National Transportation Safety Board takes whatever steps are necessary to make the country's expressways safe for all drivers.

The safety board's recommendation is just that, a recommendation. The board doesn't have the power to ban cell phone use and texting on its own. Instead, it sent its recommendation to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and to governing bodies in all 50 states. It will now be up to these agencies to enact a ban on cell phone use and texting for truckers and other commercial drivers.

Source: Associated Press, "Ban recommended on trucker cell use and texting," Brett Barrouquere, Sept. 13, 2011

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