Following the latest in a series of fatal truck accidents involving cellphone use, the National Transportation Safety Board is pushing to make all cellphones, whether or not they are hand-held, forbidden to commercial vehicle operators while driving.
This follows the Department of Transportation’s decision last year to forbid commercial drivers from texting, and their current debate on whether they will force the 3.7 million commercial drivers in the United States to stop using cellphones while driving. It’s hoped that the moves will prevent further commercial truck accidents.
A high-profile crash occurred on March 26, 2010, when a truck driver in Kentucky was traveling south on I-65, when he crossed the 65-foot median and crashed into a van carrying 12 people. The truck driver and 10 of the people in the van were killed in the accident.
During the investigation into the crash, officials found that the truck driver had used his cellphone 69 times in the previous 24 hours, all while driving. In the minutes preceding the accident, the driver also made four calls, one of which at the moment he was involved in the crash.
Kentucky already prohibits cellphone use by drivers under the age of 18, and bus drivers.
The NTSB has historically cracked down on cellphone use by commercial drivers, banning new drivers from using their phones in 2002, then prohibiting their use by bus drivers in 2004 – both following deadly accidents. The board also recommended a ban on cellphone use by marine and railroad operators following accidents in 2008 and 2010, respectively.
If you have been in a truck accident due to distracted driving, contact the Orlando truck accident lawyers of Oldham & Smith.
Source: New York Times, “Board urges cellphone ban for all commercial drivers,” Matthew L. Wald and Matt Richtel, Sept. 13, 2011