New law bans texting while trucking, East Texans react - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

New law bans texting while trucking, East Texans react

By Layron Livingston - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - The U.S. Department of Transportation issued the new rules, Tuesday, calling it "an important safety step." 

Last April, a San Antonio city bus driver was fired for driving while texting.  The driver crashed into the back of an SUV during rush hour traffic.   Thankfully, no one was seriously injured.

The new texting ban applies to buses, or vehicles which carry more than eight people, and, of course, large trucks weighing more than 10,000 pounds.

Gary Andrews said he's been trucking for more than 27 years.  He found the new rules to be a bit one-sided.

"I see unbelievable things going down the highway--people reading their newspaper, putting on makeup," he said. "They need to be going after people that are [texting] in small vehicles, and leave us truckers alone."

"I think we're all guilty," said Bruce Gates, a Mississippi trucker.  "I think it's a good law, but it's going to be hard to enforce."

Trooper Jeanne Dark said enforcement would more than likely come after an accident occurred if investigators found cell phone use to be the cause of the crash.  Truckers and bus drivers could be fined $2,750.

"We want to see people be responsible drivers, not just truck drivers, but everybody," said Dark.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reports drivers who text are 20 times more likely to get in an accident than non-distracted drivers.

Chuck Roach, owner of Chuck's Travel Coaches, Inc., said DWT is against company policy for his 16 drivers.

"Technology is passing us, and we're not making safety rules to keep up," he said.

Roach said safety should always come first, and he welcomes the new rules.

"It's the right thing to do," he said.

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