This is actually a pretty major decision, but it sort of feels like an obvious one. Should truckers and drivers of buses that hold dozens of children be doing anything at the wheel other than driving? Not in our mind. We're kind of surprised it took this long to get a rule passed that keeps those drivers from texting and driving, but many are saying that it has become a normal and almost essential part of their routine. There are alternative solutions that allow handsfree talking and voice-to-text, but those definitely aren't as elegant as just typing on one's phone.
Under the new regulations, drivers who are caught texting while cruising could face criminal and civil fines of up to $2,750, and officials are saying that the move was made in order to keep the focus of these drivers on the road. We figure it's only a matter of time before similar rules come to every road and every driver, and for safety's sake, we can't really complain.
"Our regulations will help prevent unsafe activity within the cab," said Anne Ferro, administrator for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
"We want to make it crystal clear to operators and their employers that texting while driving is the type of unsafe activity that these regulations are intended to prohibit," said Ferro.
FMCSA said its studies show that drivers who text have their eyes off the road for 4.6 seconds out of every six seconds while they are engaged in the activity. That means that, at 55 MPH, their vehicle is traveling the length of a football field while their attention is elsewhere.
FMCSA also said that drivers who text are 20 times more likely to get into an accident than those who do not use mobile devices while driving.
"Because of the safety risks associated with the use of electronic devices while driving, FMCSA is also working on additional regulatory measures that will be announced in the coming months," the administration said.