Wednesday, March 31,
Contact: Olivia Alair
Secretary Ray LaHood Proposes Rule to Ban Texting for Truck and Bus Drivers
Announces Unprecedented Partnership with Cornell University
to Engage Public in
WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced a federal rule that proposes
to specifically prohibit texting by interstate commercial truck and bus drivers.
The proposed rule would make permanent an interim ban announced in January 2010
that applied existing safety rules to the specific issue of texting.
Department also announced an unprecedented partnership with Cornell University to increase public involvement
and collaboration in the rulemaking process. The Cornell e-Rulemaking
Initiative (CeRI) partnership will make the federal regulatory process more
accessible to the public through Regulation Room, an online public participation
environment where people can learn about and discuss proposed federal
regulations and provide effective feedback to the Department.
"This is good news on two fronts,"
said Secretary LaHood. "This rulemaking keeps our commitment to making our
roads safer by reducing the threat of distracted driving. And our partnership
with Cornell on the e-Rulemaking Initiative is an important step toward keeping
President Obama's promise of opening government to more effective citizen
Today's proposed rule to ban texting
by drivers of commercial vehicles and bus drivers is the first effort in this
innovative partnership. Citizens can find more information on the Cornell
online effort and provide comments on the proposed rule at regulationroom.org
over the next 30 days. The Department of Transportation encourages
participation in this rulemaking through Regulation Room, but the public may
also submit comments to the DOT docket at regulation.gov.
FMCSA research shows that drivers who
send and receive text messages take their eyes off the road for an average of
4.6 seconds out of every 6 seconds while texting. At 55 miles per hour, this
means that the driver is traveling the length of a football field, including the
end zones, without looking at the road.
Drivers who text while driving are
more than 20 times more likely to get in an accident than non-distracted
drivers. Because of the safety risks associated with the use of electronic
devices while driving, FMCSA is also working on additional regulatory measures
that will be announced in the coming months.
are committed to using every resource available to eliminate the dangers of
distracted driving," said FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro. "This rulemaking
to prohibit texting by interstate commercial truck and bus drivers, along with
the Cornell E-Rulemaking Initiative, reinforces our unwavering commitment and
provides the public with a unique opportunity to share their ideas and comments
on how together we can make our roads safer."
proposed rule will be on public display in the Federal Register March 31 and
will appear in print in the Federal Register on April 1.
During the September 2009 Distracted
Driving Summit, the Secretary announced the Department's plan to pursue this
regulatory action, as well as rulemakings to reduce the other risks posed by
President Obama also signed an
Executive Order directing federal employees not to engage in text messaging
while driving government-owned vehicles or with government-owned equipment.
Federal employees were required to comply with the ban starting on December 30,
public can follow the progress of the U.S. Department of Transportation in
working to combat distracted driving at www.distraction.gov.