ATA supports handheld prohibition – with reservations

The American Trucking Associations (ATA) says it supports the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s proposed prohibition on the use of handheld mobile phones, but it’s urging the agency to allow the use of hands-free devices

The American Trucking Associations (ATA) says it supports the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s proposed prohibition on the use of handheld mobile phones, but it’s urging the agency to allow the use of hands-free devices.

“ATA favors allowing the use of technologies that enable the driver to conduct a conversation without holding the device (e.g., hands-free),” the industry trade group noted in written remarks.

“ATA also believes drivers should be prohibited from dialing a telephone number while driving, but should be permitted to push a limited number of buttons (e.g., three or fewer) in order to initiate a hands-free call,” the association said. “Finally, ATA strongly objects to the proposed provision that would impose serious penalties against employers who do not somehow prevent their drivers from violating mobile phone prohibitions.”

The group also objected to the proposed prohibition on reaching for a mobile phone while driving. Doing so, ATA argued, would prevent drivers from initiating hands-free calls, which can have a safety benefit according to their research, they noted. Further, ATA claimed it is inconsistent to permit drivers to reach for other objects (e.g., a C.B., a radio dial) but prohibit reaching for a cell phone.

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