ATA supports proposed ban on use of hand-held mobile phones by drivers

March 7, 2011
The American Trucking Associations announced its support of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s proposed prohibition on the use of hand-held mobile phones, though it urged the agency to allow the use of hands-free devices, citing agency research demonstrating the net safety benefits of such devices.

The American Trucking Associations announced its support of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s proposed prohibition on the use of hand-held mobile phones, though it urged the agency to allow the use of hands-free devices, citing agency research demonstrating the net safety benefits of such devices.

“ATA’s progressive safety agenda calls for the safe use of technology and our associations’ policy calls for laws and regulations that ban all motorists from using hand-held mobile phones while driving,” said Bill Graves, ATA president and chief executive officer. “Recognizing the risks of hand-held mobile phone use, it simply makes sense to prohibit their use by all motorists to make the highways safer for everyone.”

To this end, ATA has supported laws and regulations banning hand-held phone use for all motorists at the state and federal levels. ATA reiterated this position in comments filed February 22 on FMCSA’s proposed ban for truck drivers. In 2010, ATA supported DOT’s ban on texting by drivers of commercial vehicles while their vehicles are in motion.

However, while ATA agreed with FMCSA that “drivers should be prohibited from dialing a telephone number while driving,” it urged the agency not to limit drivers from pushing “a limited number of buttons in order to initiate a hands-free call.”

ATA 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, as the agency’s research demonstrates, can have a net safety benefit. Further, ATA claimed, it is inconsistent to permit drivers to reach for other objects (eg, a CB, a radio dial) but prohibit reaching for a cell phone.

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