The cell phone ban for tuckers took effect January 3, 2011. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood is now calling for a federal ban on the use of cellular devices while driving, for all drivers.
At a conference in San Antonio, Texas, before a group of doctors, government officials and advocates, who want a ban on phones while driving, LaHood called for strict legislation on what he calls, “a national epidemic of distracted driving,” Reuters reported.
Currently, 38 states have laws restricting or outlawing the use of electronic devices while driving. The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety has a chart of all 50 states and their cell phone laws. The chart can be found here.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, driving while taking or texting is equivalent to driving with a blood alcohol level of .08%. More than 3,000 deaths occurred last year as a result of distracted driving.
Headlines across the country tell the stories of those killed because of a distracted driver. Last week, CDL Life posted an article about a Platte City, Missouri, woman who was killed when the vehicle she was driving was struck by a texting teen. The teen is now being charged with manslaughter. If convicted, the girl could face up to 4 years in prison.
Another story that caught worldwide attention was of Emy Brochu, 20, who died on Jan. 18 after her car slammed into the back of a tractor-trailer in Victoriaville, Quebec. She was responding to a text from her boyfriend. In a post on facebook, Brochu’s boyfriend stated, ”
the police investigation showed the use of a cellphone while driving was the cause of the accident.”
“This conclusion came as a shock because during the tragedy, I was in a discussion with her,” he said.
“I hope every time you look at your cellphone while you’re driving, you think of Emy and those who loved her,” he wrote, describing Brochu as a “joyful, determined woman.”
“At what time is a text or an email more important than life itself? At what point is something on your phone more important than the people that you love?”
The map shows state-by-state bans on texting while driving.
Not all agree the federal government should aim directly at cell phone use.
“It shouldn’t matter if the driver is distracted by a conversation with another vehicle passenger, tuning the radio, eating a snack, or talking on a cell phone,” Gary Biller, president of the National Motorists Association, said in a statement. “Existing laws cover all those distractions and more.”
Drivers, what do you think? Should there be a nation-wide ban on cell phone use while driving? Should all drivers be forced to pay the same $2,750 fine truck drivers are saddled with if they are found using their cell phones while driving? You decide.