NTSB Pushes Cell Phone Ban to Reduce Truck and Bus Accidents in Illinois

A recent proposal by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) aims to ban truck and bus drivers from using cell phones while behind the wheel — either hand-held or hands-free. The recommendation follows yet another fatal trucking accident believed to have been caused by a distracted driver. The recent accident took the lives of 11 motorists on Interstate 65 in Kentucky. Authorities believe the truck driver was distracted by his phone when he crossed the median and slammed into a van full of people on their way to a wedding. The truck driver and 10 people in the van were killed.

Phone records reveal that the trucker had used his cell phone for calls and text messages just seconds before the fatal accident.

Trucking accidents in Illinois that are caused by distracted drivers are completely preventable. As current law states in Illinois, only drivers that are under the age of 19 or those who are traveling through a school or a construction zone are prohibited from using a cell phone behind the wheel. All drivers in City of Chicago have been banned from using a hand-held cell phone while driving.
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Our Chicago personal injury attorneys understand the reasoning behind such proposals, which have been made more than once by the NTSB. Traffic accidents that involve commercial vehicles have a high risk of fatally injuring someone. Passenger-vehicle motorists can be as cautious as possible, but without commercial driver attention, fatal accidents may be completely unavoidable.

The most recent recommendation from the NTSB supplements an earlier recommendation asking that federal regulations prohibit commercial truck drivers from both using hand-held cell phones and text messaging devices while driving.

“This is the most comprehensive recommendation we’ve made,” NTSB chairman Deborah Hersman.

The support for these kinds of restrictions has been nearly unanimous, although the trucking industry is questioning the need to prevent drivers from using hands-free devices.

The NTSB is unable to enforce the recommendation and has forwarded it to all 50 states and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Currently, only 34 states prohibit all drivers from texting while operating a motor vehicle. Nine states prohibit hand-held cell phone use by drivers. No state bans hands-free devices.

The recommendation would only affect drivers of commercial trucks and bus drivers. It would only apply to these individuals when they’re driving a commercial vehicle. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this would apply to approximately 3 million drivers.

“This is not going to be popular. But, we’re not here to be popular. We’re here to do what needs to be done,” Hersman said.

If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident, the Chicago injury attorneys and wrongful death lawyers at Abels & Annes offer you a free consultation to discuss your rights. Call (866) 99-ABELS. There is no fee unless you win.

More Blog Entries:

Simple and Old-Fashioned Tips to Prevent Injury in a Chicago Car Accident, Chicago Car Accident Lawyers Blog, September 19, 2011

Fatal Distracted-Driving Car Accident in Chicago Could Result in Serious Criminal Charges, Chicago Car Accident Lawyers Blog, September 15, 2011