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Cellphone regulations aim to reduce trucker distractions

Every day in New Jersey, as well as everywhere else in the country, people share the road with large trucks. Semi trucks have the potential to cause devastating injuries or fatalities for those in smaller vehicles. Distracted driving is a problem affecting all types of drivers, not just those in smaller passenger cars. Truck drivers may also drive while distracted and cause accidents. The problem has prompted federal regulations to address certain types of driver distraction.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are three main types of distracted driving. These include the following:

  • Visual – when an activity takes a driver’s eyes from the road
  • Manual – when something affects a driver’s operation of a motor vehicle, including taking hands off the wheel or feet from the pedals
  • Cognitive – when a driver’s mind is focused elsewhere and not on the task of driving

Distracted driving may involve such activities as eating, drinking, interacting with passengers, adjusting the radio or being distracted by scenery. All of these distractions are potentially dangerous; however, using a mobile phone while driving tops the list.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has enacted regulations to deal with the problem of using cellphones and texting and driving. Commercial truck drivers are prohibited from reading or sending text messages while driving. Failure to comply with these rules may result in a fine of up to $2,750, a poor Safety Measurement System score and possible driver disqualification. Motor carriers face an $11,000 fine for not enforcing this rule among their drivers.

Drivers who text behind the wheel put others at risk. Those who are harmed by a distracted truck driver may be eligible for compensation.

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