Washington, DC -- U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced a final rule banning the use of hand-held cell phones by interstate truck and bus drivers.
"When drivers of large trucks, buses and hazardous materials take their eyes off the road for even a few seconds, the outcome can be deadly," said LaHood. "I hope that this rule will save lives by helping commercial drivers stay laser-focused on safety at all times while behind the wheel."
Drivers who violate the new rule will face federal civil penalties of up to $2750 for each offense. They could also lose their commercial motor vehicle licenses for multiple offenses.
Nearly 5474 people died and half a million were injured in crashes involving a distracted driver in 2009. Distraction-related fatalities represented 16 percent of overall traffic fatalities in 2009, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) research.
Many of the largest truck and bus companies, such as UPS, Covenant Transport, Wal-Mart, Peter Pan and Greyhound already have company policies in place banning their drivers from using hand-held phones.
from DOT news release