The roads may be just a little bit safer as of January 3. On that day, the federal government will institute a new rule barring interstate truck and bus drivers from using hand-held cell phones while they drive.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration can impose stiff penalties on drivers who violate the ban. Individual drivers can be fined up to $2,750 per incident, while their employers face fines of as much as $11,000. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, the rule will impact about 4 million truck and bus drivers nationwide.
A Dangerous Habit
Accident fatalities due to distraction account for about 16 percent of fatalities on the road each year — about 5,500 deaths nationally in 2009, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
In Georgia, only school bus drivers and those under the age of 18 are banned from using hand-held cell phones while driving. All drivers are prohibited from driving while texting. The Georgia State Patrol will bear most of the responsibility for enforcing the new federal rule within the state.
The rule has no effect on passenger car drivers or truck and bus drivers who don’t cross state lines, so it’s effects will be limited. Support for the idea was split among truck drivers, in part because it doesn’t also target passenger car drivers.
This issue is only getting bigger. Just this week, the National Trasnportation Safety Board recommended banning phone calls and texting by ALL drivers in non-emergency situations, included all hand-held and hands-free devices. This recommendation is an attempt to mitigate the huge problem of distracted driving and the injuries and deaths the behavior is causing.
Ty Wilson is an Atlanta auto accident attorney | Savannah car accident attorney who provides books, reports, articles, and videos free to the public in the interest of increasing knowledge on the subject of personal injury.
He urges anyone who has been injured to check out his information before hiring a lawywer or speaking to someone from the insurance company. Visit his www.tywilsonlaw.com or call 1-888-689-5224.
Ty Wilson is a proud supporter of Teens Against Distracted Driving (TADD). Visit www.TeensAgainstDistractedDriving.com to sign a plege to not text and drive and get a free wristband!