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    ATA supports proposed ban on handheld phone use by CMV drivers

    February 24, 2011

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    Arlington, VA – The American Trucking Associations on Feb. 23 announced support for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s proposed rule to ban commercial truck and bus drivers from talking on a handheld cell phone while driving, yet urged the agency to allow use of hands-free devices.

    According to FMCSA’s notice of proposed rulemaking (.pdf file) published in the Dec. 21 Federal Register, CMV drivers caught violating the law would face up to $2,750 in penalties for each offense and disqualification of their commercial driver’s license for multiple offenses.

    ATA stated that although it supports the Department of Transportation's ban on texting while driving by CMV drivers, it urged FMCSA to not limit drivers from pushing a certain amount of buttons to initiate a hands-free call.

    FMCSA research has shown CMV drivers who reach for an object, such as a cell phone, while driving are 3 times more likely to be involved in a crash or safety-critical event. Drivers dialing a handheld cell phone increase their risk by 6 times.

    The National Safety Council supports a total ban on cell phone use while driving. In March 2010, the council released a white paper (.pdf file) that references more than 30 scientific studies and reports, describing how using a cell phone, hands-free or handheld, requires the brain to multitask – a process it cannot do safely while driving.

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