As previous posts have discussed, many if not most truckers who travel through Kentucky have to follow special rules set out by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, or FMCSA, if they want to keep working for their employer or to continue operating their own business.
Some of these rules address the ongoing problem of texting and driving on the road. Texting and driving is a dangerous activity for any motorist to engage in, but it is especially dangerous when truck drivers do it, because a distracted truck driver can easily cause extensive damage, including severe injuries to other motorists, in the event of an accident. As with its other rules, the FMCSA’s texting and driving restrictions are designed to prevent these tragic truck accidents.
Specifically, the FMCSA has found from its research that a trucker engaged in texting while driving is over 20 times more likely to be involved in what the FMCSA calls a “safety critical” event, a term which includes both crashes as well as near misses and other scary things like drifting in to another lane without being aware.
As a result, all texting and driving is prohibited to truckers and trucking companies subject to the FMCSA’s rules. Individual drivers and trucking companies face steep administrative fines even for violating this ban even one time, and habitual problems with texting and driving could mean losing the privilege of hauling in interstate commerce. If there is an accident, a violation of this rule may also serve as proof of the trucker’s negligence in a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit.
There are no exceptions to this ban, and the definition of “texting” under the FMCSA’s rules is broad. Not only does it include true texting and surfing the web or sending an email, it also includes making a call on one’s mobile phone if the driver has to punch more than one number to do so.