Helping the Injured in Tennessee Since 1977

Accident prevention: Truckers already face hand-held phone ban

Although it's something many people do each and every day, driving really is a complex task. Between regulating speed, observing posted traffic laws and keeping an eye out for everyone else on the road, motorists have a lot on their plate. This, of course, doesn't even include many of the distractions drivers intentionally create for themselves.

Last week, we covered a story emerging from Tennessee's capital: Legislators are considering banning hand-held cell phone use among all drivers. The ultimate goal of this law would be to reduce driver distraction and reduce accident rates.

Even though the legislative proposal we discussed would only cover roads in Tennessee, it's worth noting that commercial truck drivers who drive between states are already subject to a hand-held cell phone ban. According to one of our firm's articles, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration forbids truckers from using a hand-held device to communicate and having to press more than one button to make a phone call.

The federal agency enforces regulations for commercial truck and bus drivers throughout the country. Those who are caught making a phone call without a hands-free device can face fines or even lose their licensure after multiple violations.

Although the federal rule is certainly a deterrent, truckers may still be tempted to violate the rules, effectively exposing everyone else on the road to serious danger. The unfortunate reality is that passengers in smaller vehicles involved in crash with a tractor trailer often deal with the most harm.

Another thought to keep in mind is that the absence of a statewide hand-held phone ban opens the door to many distracted drivers. Not only can private drivers currently use cell phones without the aid of a hands-free device, but so can truckers who only operate within Tennessee's borders. As such, many may be eagerly awaiting action from state lawmakers to help limit inattentive driving and the frequency of truck accidents.


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