Don’t Text and Drive: Federal Ban for Commercial Drivers

March 24, 2010 07:00 PM

Rachel Duff, Top Producer Contributing Editor
Farmers or farm employees driving large trucks or big rigs need to stop sending text messages while driving. A federal ban on texting for commercial drivers is in effect now, and those who do may be subject to civil or criminal penalties of up to $2,750, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
The regulation is very cut and dry. "If you're driving, don't text,” says DeAnne Rickabaugh, Missouri Department of Transportation spokesperson.
Drivers who send or receive text messages while driving take their eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds out of every 6 seconds, according to FMCSA. If the driver is going 55 mph while texting, those figures mean that the driver is traveling the length of a football field, including the end zones, while looking at their cell phone.
Distracted drivers who are texting are 20 times more likely to get into an accident than drivers paying attention to the road.
It's hard to say, so far, how many people have violated the regulation, says Neal Mager, chief commercial vehicle officer. "As quick as it came out, a lot is probably verbal warnings so far,” he says.
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