The American Trucking Associations (ATA) strongly supports the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) proposal to prohibit commercial motor vehicle drivers from text messaging on handheld devices while driving, ATA said in comments filed May 3 in response to FMCSA’s notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) in the April 1 Federal Register.
“Texting acutely distracts an individual’s attention from the primary driving task and can have a profound impact on a driver’s awareness and performance,” said ATA Vice President for Safety Policy Rob Abbott. “In the interest of improving highway safety, ATA has called on the current administration and Congress to expand the ban on texting to drivers of all vehicles.”
ATA also applauded the agency for excluding the use of in-cab fleet management systems, global positioning systems, and navigation systems. Potential safety risks, if any, of using these systems are not fully known, and they do offer many safety benefits.
The trucking group also told FMCSA that motor carriers must not be held accountable for texting violations committed by drivers when the motor carrier neither condoned nor required these acts and could not have prevented them. A motor carrier should not be deemed to have “allowed” a texting offense, or be penalized for a driver’s offense, if the motor carrier has taken all reasonable steps to prevent drivers from texting while operating their vehicle, including prohibiting texting under company policy, training drivers on the policy, and progressively disciplining drivers found in violation of the policy.