NAFA Fleet Management Association is strongly urging the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to quickly enacted legislation that outlaws the use of cell phones during commercial vehicle operation – except in emergencies. TruckingInfo.com reports that the NAFA has expressed strong support of the National Transportation Safety Board recent recommendation to prohibit the use of cellular telephones, both handheld and hands-free, by all holders of commercial driver’s license during vehicle operation.
However, the FMCSA is taking their time to develop an outright ban and it currently contemplating a ban that only prohibits handheld cellular telephone use. In a letter composed by the NAFA and forwarded to the Secretary of Transportation, as well as, the administer of the FMCSA, the group states that the ban will be an important tool against distracted driving and will support the efforts of fleet managers to encourage their companies and agencies to strengthen safety programs with further restrictions on cell phone and text message usage.
In a response given by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the organization cites research conducted by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute which proved that it is unclear if simply talking on a mobile device presents a significant risk. On the other hand, research shows that the act of reaching for an object increases the risk of a safety-hazard even by three times, while dialing increases the risk by six times. The research concluded that these risks are present due to the driver taking their eyes off the road.
The National Transportation Safety Board made these recommendations last month after a devastating semi truck accident took the life of 11 people. Through an extensive investigation, it was discovered that the driver of the 18-wheel semi truck was using his cell phone as the time of the collision. The driver had made four calls in the minutes leading up to the crash, with the time of the last conversation coinciding with the time his vehicle crossed an interstate median and collided with a 15-passenger van.
Research, conducted at the University of Utah, shows that using a cell phone while driving, whether hand-held or hands-free, delays a driver’s reaction as much as having a blood alcohol concentration at the legal limit of .08. Our Chicago truck accident lawyers strongly encourage the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to enact updated regulations which outright ban the use of cellular devices by drivers of large commercial vehicles. Illinois semi truck accidents caused by distracted drivers are 100% preventable when drivers adhere to strict regulations and operate their vehicle with the utmost care.