The Missouri Department of Transportation is swift to react to a new regulation prohibiting drivers of large commercial vehicles from using cell phones.
The Missouri agency says the rule from the National Transportation Safety Board will be enforced effective January 3rd. It will prohibit truck and bus drivers from reaching for, holding or dialing any mobile phone while they are behind the wheel of the moving vehicle.
The NTSB went beyond recommendations for truckers. The agency said today states should ban use of all cell phones and other portable electronic devices except when there is an emergency.
The drive behind the measure follows a multi-car, multi-truck crash on interstate 44 in Missouri last year. Two died and 38 were hurt. Investigators found the driver of a pickup truck had texted eleven times in the eleven minutes just before the crash. Steve Porter speaks for MoDOT in the Kansas City region.
“We know that distracted driving, including texting, is a problem," Porter said. "And we fully support anything that will focus on distracted driving and trying to prevent that, to reduce that.”
Porter also quoted an American Medical Association study that shows texting drivers spend up to 400 times more time with their eyes off the road than non-texting drivers.