|Feds Announce Proposed Rule Banning Texts by Interstate Bus Drivers|
|Written by Ryan Gray|
|Wednesday, 31 March 2010 10:06|
The U.S. Department of Transportation is teaming with Cornell University to promote public involvement in commenting on a proposed rule that targets text messaging by commercial bus and truck drivers who travel across state lines.
The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking would make permanent a ban laid forth in federal guidance issued earlier this year by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The document also provided a template for states to follow when introducing legislation to prohibit this type of driver distraction.
The Cornell E-Rulemaking Initiative is pilot project designed and operated by the university that attempts to use the principles of Web 2.0, or increased community participation on Web sites using interactive tools, to help the public better understand the federal rulemaking process and to comment on the rulemaking process. Public comment can still be made on Document ID fr01ap10-29 via the online DOT docket.
At 23.2-to-1 odds, texting while driving presents the greatest risk of a vehicle crash then if drivers don't text, according to a study conducted by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute. The NPRM is the first in a set of proposed new federal regulations to address distracted driving by truckers, bus drivers and other commercial motor vehicle operators. For the school transportation industry, the NPRM specifically addresses bus drivers who work for private companies that contract with school districts on interstate activity trips.
Commercial drivers could face fines or operating disqualification if convicted of texting while driving. Motor carrier operators would also be prohibited from requiring or allowing their drivers to text when behind the wheel, and the FMCSA wants to amend its CDL regulations to add texting to its list of disqualifyting offenses, which would also extend to school bus drivers. The NPRM does not address talking on cell phones or using devices like GPS or two-way radios, two driver distraction issues that FMCSA said it plans to address with future proposed rules.
"We are committed to using every resource available to eliminate the dangers of distracted driving," said FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro. "This rulemaking to prohibit texting by interstate commercial truck and bus drivers, along with the Cornell E-Rulemaking Initiative, reinforces our unwavering commitment and provides the public with a unique opportunity to share their ideas and comments on how together we can make our roads safer."
|Last Updated on Thursday, 01 April 2010 12:45|