Safety Advocates file petition to curb cell use

Posted on September 25, 2009

Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates) filed a petition, on Thursday, with the U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) to initiate federal rulemaking to prohibit or restrict the use of unsafe electronic devices, for talking, texting and other purposes, by operators of commercial motor vehicles, such as motorcoach buses, tractor trailers and large vans.

Advocates ( filed the petition for rulemaking with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), calling on the agency to:

  • Immediately open a rulemaking proceeding to determine the safety of electronic devices used by drivers operating a CMV.
  • Evaluate all wireless electronic devices used for telecommunications, telematics, entertainment and driver assistance (regardless of whether they are mobile or installed into the vehicle electronics platform) that can be used by drivers while operating a CMV.
  • Determine which devices interfere with the safe operation of CMVs.
  •  Permit exceptions only in emergency situations, and exempt law enforcement and emergency responders who operate CMVs in the conduct of their official duties.
  • Make the violation of using a prohibited or restricted device while operating a CMV a safety violation that automatically triggers the issuance of an Out-of-Service (OOS) order.
  •  Apply the rule to all CMV drivers under FMCSA jurisdiction.
  • Issue a rule to prohibit or restrict the use of devices that interfere with the safe operation of CMVs, and explain the conditions under which devices that are restricted can be used.

A Virginia Tech study issued this year, which was the first to investigate the effects on crash risk of reading and sending text messages, found that texting increased the risk of a safety-critical driving event for truck drivers by 23.2 times. Another study conducted in 2006 found that drivers using cell phones failed to stop at stop signs 10 times more often than drivers not using cell phones.

In 2006, the National Transportation Safety Board issued a safety recommendation urging FMCSA to ban cell phone use by commercial drivers license (CDL) holders who operate motorcoaches or school buses.

In July of this year, the Washington Area Metropolitan Transit Authority (Metro) issued a zero-tolerance policy for Metro bus and rail operators using mobile devices while on the job, while one year ago the Federal Railroad Administration issued an Emergency Order restricting the use electronic devices by railroad employees after a commuter/freight train head-on collision.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, at any given moment 11 percent of all motorists are using cell phones while driving, and 25 percent of all police-reported crashes may involve distracted driving.

Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety is an alliance of consumer, health, law enforcement and safety groups and insurance companies and agents working together to make America's roads safer.

For a copy of Advocates' "Distracted Driving Petition for Rulemaking," click here.


View comments or post a comment on this story. (0 Comments)

More News

Seattle bridge bus crash kills four students, injures dozens

The Ride the Ducks tour vehicle, heading northbound on the bridge, collided with one of the student buses, which was carrying about 45 students and employees in the college’s international program. The National Transportation Safety Board sent a team of 17 officials to Seattle to investigate on Friday.

MCI to provide service, host hospitality tent for Philadelphia Papal visit

Drivers are invited to stop by the MCI hospitality tent for complimentary coffee and donuts, with opportunities to learn about MCI pre-owned coach inventory, parts specials, training on engine regeneration and wheelchair lifts, and more.

Thrasher adds Setra S 417s for Mercedes Benz contract

The purchase from MCI follows the operators' 2013 win on a four-year contract to provide transportation services to the Daimler division’s Brand Immersion Experience, a program that will bring some 26,000 Mercedes employees to the plant in Vance, Ala., and other Birmingham-area locations by 2017.

San Francisco's Leap Transit files for bankruptcy

In May, California regulators issued a cease-and-desist order to the company for running without permits. The company immediately said in an announcement it would be “offline” for the week, however, the service never returned.

2 die, 4 injured when car plows into tour bus

The crash occurred when an allegedly drunken driver in a speeding BMW slammed into the tour bus. The driver was injured and taken to a hospital. Las Vegas police said the BMW driver's friend called 911 to report the driver just left a bar and was drunk when he got into his car.

See More News

Post a Comment

Post Comment

Comments (0)

More From The World's Largest Fleet Publisher

Automotive Fleet

The Car and truck fleet and leasing management magazine

Business Fleet

managing 10-50 company vehicles

Fleet Financials

Executive vehicle management

Government Fleet

managing public sector vehicles & equipment


Work Truck Magazine

The resource for managers of class 1-7 truck Fleets

Schoolbus Fleet

Serving school transportation professionals in the U.S. and Canada

LCT Magazine

Global Resource For Limousine and Bus Transportation

Please sign in or register to .    Close