The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recently proposed that truck drivers be banned from using their cell phones while driving 18-wheelers. Manhattan personal injury lawyers know that it took a tragedy to get to this point, but that it is a good move if we want to reduce the number of trucking accidents in New York and nationwide.
The NTSB was successful when they recommended that school bus drivers and novice drivers be banned from using cell phones while driving as most states have adopted laws prohibiting these two groups from the distracting behavior that can affect driving safety.
USA Today reports the recommendation for a truck driver ban on cell phones comes following an NTSB investigation of a Kentucky trucking accident that killed 11 people in 2010. It is believed that the truck driver was distracted on his cell phone which caused the fatal accident.
The large truck crossed the median line, passed through barriers and struck a van carrying 10 passengers. Investigators found that the truck driver headed for Alabama during a 700-mile trip had used his cell phone 69 times in the previous 24-hour period leading up to the accident. This includes four calls right before the accident occurred and the last call coincides with the time the tractor-trailer veered from its lane.
Though drowsiness could have been a contributing factor in the accident, no other potential causes such as poor weather conditions, failed health or mechanical problems were found to be related to the fatal accident following the investigation.
Last year, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration banned truck drivers from texting while driving. If a truck driver sends or receives a text while behind the wheel, they could potentially be fined more than $2,700 for the violation if caught by law enforcement. The NTSB recommends that both handheld and hands-free cell phone use be banned by truck drivers or any driver that possesses a commercial driver’s license. This includes in-state drivers and interstate commercial drivers.
The American Trucking Associations, comprised of 37,000 trucking companies located throughout the United States , is in support of drivers being banned from texting or using handheld devices. However, they do not take a stand on banning hands-free cell phones because recent safety studies don’t provide concrete evidence but rather mixed results on the effects of using a hands-free device while driving. The group stands in opposition of banning CB radios which can alert drivers of dangers or help fight drowsiness.
According to a spokesman at the American Trucking Association, the organization continually supports safe highways because it is the workplace of its members. Commercial truck drivers may find talking on the cell phone a productive way to break up the monotony of a long trip, but this unsafe behavior can affect many other roadway users. Reducing the risk of a trucking accident in the future can be accomplished by banning the use of cell phones completely.
The truck accident attorneys at the Law Offices of Nicholas Rose, PLLC can help assist victims and their families involved in a trucking accident in New York City or the surrounding areas. Call for a free appointment at 1-877-313-ROSE (7673).
Safety board: Ban cellphone use by truckers, by Bart Jansen, USA Today.
More Blog Entries:
Shifted Cargo Can Cause Rollover Trucking Accidents in New York, New York Injury Lawyer Blog, August 15, 2011.