An investigation by ABC station WABC in New York City showed the little impact that texting and driving laws have had on truck drivers. Cameras were set up by WABC on New York highways and caught truck drivers texting, talking, and browsing the internet and social media on their cell phones.
Despite the many measures that have been taken to ensure that truck drivers drive safely, it seems that nothing can truly be done to ensure complete safe driving. Distracted driving is dangerous enough as is, but distracted driving by the drivers of these huge semis or trailers has many more consequences.
Currently, a New York truck driver stopped by police for talking on a cell phone would receive a $150 fine and five points on a drivers’ license. Accumulation 11 points over an 18-month period may result in a suspended license in New York. Although trucking laws are mainly regulated on a federal level, states handle certain tickets, fines and restrictions.
Around 16,000 truckers were ticketed for using their cell phones last year, but only four of those were suspended and taken out of service. To me, this ratio shows a huge problem with the further enforcement of driving suspensions. If there is this huge of a problem in New York, I can’t help to wonder if we have the same, if not a larger problem here in Texas.
Truck drivers across the nation have killed other innocent drivers while using their cell phones behind the wheel. Clearly a texting and driving ban is not working for these truck drivers, so further action needs to be taken.
In order to hold these drivers responsible for their actions, I think it would be a good idea for trucking companies to invest in dashboard cameras that monitor the driver’s actions. It would simply be on while they drive, so that the footage could be reviewed to reveal any driving discrepancies. While I think this is what’s best for everyday drivers, I’m not sure trucking companies would feel the same way. One way or another, something needs to be done to fix this huge distracted truck driver issue.