More Regulations Proposed to Help Reduce Risks of Distracted Driving-Related Car Accident in St. Louis, Nation

More Regulations Proposed to Help Reduce Risks of Distracted Driving-Related Car Accident in St. Louis, Nation

The state of Missouri currently has no law restricting the use of cell phones or text messaging devices for any driver over the age of 20. There is only one law that prohibits drivers who are 21-years-old or younger from texting while behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. The lack of laws regulating these distracting behaviors may be one of the main reasons for fatal car accidents in St. Louis and elsewhere.

This could soon change if the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) gets its way. The Board recently made a recommendation to ban commercial truck drivers from using hands-free and hand-held mobile phones while operating a large commercial vehicle, according to CNN.

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Our St. Louis car accident lawyers understand that this is the most extensive recommendation that the NTSB had made thus far. In recent years, the NTSB proposed regulations for banning novice drivers and bus drivers from using a cell phone. The new regulation is different because it covers the use of all phones for those who are operating a commercial vehicle. We would like to point out that this recommendation is not yet a law. The recommendation has been passed on to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

The FMCSA isn’t new to all of this. It previously prohibited all commercial truckers from using text-messaging devices while driving. If these drivers are busted texting at the wheel, they can potentially face $2,750 in fines.

The recent recommendation comes after yet another fatal trucking accident that was believed to have been caused by a distracted trucker. The accident happened in Kentucky and took the lives of 11 people.

After investigating the accident, officials reported that the driver’s phone records showed that he made nearly 5 cell phone calls just seconds before the accident. It happened when the trucker drove the large vehicle over a 60-foot medical, over a barrier system and into the path of oncoming traffic. The truck crashed head on into a van that was carrying 12 people. Ten of the van passengers and the trucker died.

“Changing behavior can start right now, for drivers of big rigs, but also for the rest of us,” said Safety board Chairman Deborah Hersman. “When you are at the wheel, driving safely should be your only focus.”

The NTSB reports that its research proves that phone hands-free and hand-held devices serve as a dangerous distraction to all drivers.

If this proposal is taken into law, then all drivers that are driving in a truck under a commercial driver’s license will be prohibited from using the devices. All in-state and interstate drivers who use that type of license will be covered as well.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that there were about 4,000 traffic fatalities in the U.S. in 2009 that were the result of an accident that involved a large truck. Many of these accidents and fatalities could have been prevented if there were stricter laws governing distractions for these drivers.

Additional Resources:

Federal board urges cell phone ban for commercial truckers, by Mike M. Ahlers, CNN

More Blog Entries:

Increased Risk of Car Accidents in Missouri with More Farm Machinery Clogging Roadways, St. Louis Car Accident Lawyer Blog, August 27, 2011

Governors Highway Safety Association Targets Distracted Driving Car Accidents in Missouri, St. Louis Car Accident Lawyer Blog, July 27, 2011

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Ryan R. Cox & Associates, LLC

Ryan R. Cox & Associates, LLC is a litigation law firm that represents individuals and families in serious personal injury and wrongful death claims throughout Missouri. We help people who have been injured in all types of accidents—including car or truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, slip and fall accidents, and much more. Whether your injury is something that can cause long-term issues like a brain injury or spinal cord injury, or it is something you’ll likely make a full recovery from, we are here to help.

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