Possible Cell Phone Ban Singles Out Truck Drivers

truck driver texting

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has called for a ban on the use of cell phones for drivers of commercial trucks. NTSB suggests cell phone use be banned while drivers are operating the trucks (except for emergency calls). Distracted driving is a frequent cause of vehicular accidents in the U.S., and cell phones are among the most common distractions for all drivers.

Fatal Accident Spurs Ban

This call to action by NTSB arrives after an accident in Kansas killed 11 people. Investigators have determined the crash was likely the result of cell phone use. A tractor-trailer crossed a median and struck a 15-passenger van. It was discovered that the driver of the semi truck had used his cell phone for calls and text messages a total of 69 times while driving during the preceding 24-hour period. It was also announced in a hearing in Washington on Tuesday that the truck driver was making a call at the time that his truck left its lane and crashed into the van.

Will the Ban Help?

Obviously this tragic accident could and should have been prevented. Only time will tell if a ban on cell phone usage for truckers will alleviate the problem, if it is implemented. However, statistics show that the ban may not be targeting the right audience.The Large-Truck Crash Causation Study found that only 2 percent of the 1,000 crashes evaluated were caused by distraction on the part of the commercial truck.

The response to the potential ban from the trucking community is hard to predict. Many trucking companies already have policies disallowing or limiting cell phone use, so for their drivers the ban wouldn’t change much. The operation of an 80,000-pound truck obviously requires more skill and focus than the operation of a passenger car, and yet the majority of accidents involving trucks are caused by the driver of the non-commercial vehicle. A ban on cell phone usage for truckers may prevent some accidents, but the behavior of non-commercial drivers still must be addressed if the majority of accidents are to be prevented.

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