The federal government announced a final rule to outlaw drivers of trucks and buses from using hand-held cell phones at the wheel, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT). This was the most current attempt to curb distracted driving and to reduce the risks of car accidents in Chicago and elsewhere. Commercial drivers are already prohibited from texting at the wheel.
“I hope that this rule will save lives by helping commercial drivers stay laser-focused on safety at all times while behind the wheel,” said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.
As we recently reported on our Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, officials are at it again. Recently, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) made a recommendation for all 50 states to outlaw the use of all electronic devices by all drivers. Support for this type of law is split. Some support the measure in saying that our roadways are far too dangerous with the number of distracted drivers and a law needs to be enacted to help regulate the dangerous behavior. Others say that this type of blanket ban is overpowering and is restricting the right of motorists as residents of the United States.
Under the law for the truckers and bus drivers, if they’re busted driving while using a hand-held cell phone they can face fines of nearly $3,000. A driver’s commercial driver’s license (CDL) could be suspended after two traffic violations. In addition to penalizing these drivers, the companies that employ these truckers can face an $11,000 fine. This final rule affects roughly four million drivers working in the industry.
As we recently reported, the NTSB is urging all lawmakers to prohibit the use of all devices for drivers, except devices that aid road safety and for emergency use. The NTSB doesn’t have the authority to enact any laws, but its recent recommendations have been proven to pull significant weight with federal authorities.
In Illinois, school bus drivers and those who are under the age of 18 are banned from using a hand-held cell phone at the wheel. Drivers within the City of Chicago are prohibited from using a cell phone while driving. All drivers in the state are banned from texting while driving. All of the laws could soon be wiped out and a full-out ban could be enacted if the NTSB’s recommendation is adopted by federal and state lawmakers.
As we head into the holiday season, traffic is expected to increase significantly as vacationers from around the country head out to their favorite holiday vacation destinations. The National Safety Council is predicting that the New Year’s and the Christmas holiday will see nearly 600 roadway fatalities. Many of these fatalities can be avoided if drivers exercise safe and responsible driving habits. Please be safe on our roadways through the rest of the holiday season!