A story at: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/28/technology/28texting.html?_r=2&hp reports that texting while driving increases crash risk 23 times over not texting.
That’s a lot — and a good reason for an outright ban on texting (and cell phone use) by all drivers.
It follows from this that we need even more truck parking spaces than previously thought. Communications is absolutely essential for truck drivers. To enable this to be accomplished safely, we need to build *lots* of pulloffs on highways everywhere. If there’s a safe and convenient place to pull off, drivers are much more likely to do so. An added benefit of this would be more spaces for truck drivers to take their mandatory breaks. The lack of adequate truck parking is an ongoing problem that is continually getting worse instead of better.
The area around most interchanges has sufficient room to put in a few parking spaces. Because of terrain, not all would be suitable for this, but many are, and spaces could be built relatively cheaply.
By way of example, I ran a load yesterday from southern Illinois up to Chicago. I started looking for a parking space 100 miles before my destination. Not a parking space to be had anywhere. Fortunately, the place I was delivering to had room to park. This is rarely the case, particularly around any major metropolitan area. There was a truck stop about 10 miles from my destination. It’s now closed down, and is in the process of being torn down, and a shopping mall built in it’s place. We need more truck parking, not shopping malls.
It also follows from this, that every driver involved in a crash will have their cell phone/text records obtained as part of the crash investigation. This should be made mandatory. By making it mandatory (with appropriate publicity), it should also cut down on violators, since they know they’ll be caught (and penalized) in the event of a crash.