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Federal regulations: no texting and driving for truck drivers


Pottsville residents understand that everyone should typically play by the same rules. And yet, there are times in which one person's violation of the rules may lead to far more severe consequences than another person.

When it comes to the rules of the road, all motorists are bound by general rules like speed limits, turn signals and more. However, a violation of these rules can be far worse when it is done by a truck driver, given the sheer size of the semi-truck that can cause more damage to other vehicles on the road.

In light of these dangers, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) implements certain rules that apply to truck drivers. While some of these rules are unique to truck drivers, other rules are more in line with the types of rules that apply to other motorists on the road.

For instance, the FMCSA has published rules barring truck drivers from texting or using hand-held mobile phones while they are operating their vehicles. Texting not only applies to sending a text message on a phone, but also to e-mailing, instant messaging, requests to access a Web page or engaging in other communications that can cause the driver to be distracted from the road. Likewise, the bar on the use of hand-held phones means drivers cannot reach for or hold a mobile phone to communicate by phone. Drivers are allowed to use voice-activated or one-button touch features to communicate, as well as to use an earpiece or speaker phone.

If an inattentive truck driver violates the rules, he or she can be fined or even disqualified for multiple violations. In addition to these penalties, a negligent driver can be held liable in a civil lawsuit by those who are injured by the truck driver's negligence. The research demonstrates that truck drivers are far more likely to cause accidents when they are texting and driving, as opposed to those who do not. Even a few seconds of distracted driving can equate to driving the length of a football field without looking at the roadway, so the dangers of distracted driving must be taken seriously and those who violate the rules should be held accountable for their actions.

Source: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, "Distracted driving," accessed on Nov. 21, 2015

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