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The Safety Record is reporting that Advocates for Highway Safety are asking the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to prohibit or restrict electronic devices that distract truck drivers’ attention.

The Advocates petition says anything that takes drivers off their primary task must be considered — cell phones and hands-free remotes, global positioning systems, testing and entertainment devices — for a ban or a severe restriction.

The group’s petition is among a growing number of initatives to stem the growning use of on-board electronic devices that can distract truckers and other commercial vehicle operators and lead to accidents, injuries and deaths. The National Highway Traffic Safety Adminstration ("NHTSA" found that 5,870 invidividuals dies and about 515,000 occupants were injured in 2008 where at least one form of driver inattention was reported.

Distracted driving among truckers also made the National Transportation Safety Board’s ("NTSB") 2009 Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements. The NTSB was prompted by investigations into six fatal crashes involving bus drivers or young, inexperienced drivers, in which distraction caused the crash. It specifically wants the FMSCA to "prohibit cellular telephone use by commercial drivers of school buses and motorcoaches, except in emergencies."

Advocates’ petition points out that large commercial trucks are represented disproportionately in fatal crashes — representing about three percent of all motor vehicle registrations, but eight percent of all fatal motor vehicle crashes and 12 percent of all traffic fatalities each year.

You can learn more about tractor trailer accidents and how to prevent them in our recent blog post or by visiting our semi truck accident and safety web site.

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