Truckers on board with new federal texting ban

By Tiffany Teasley – bio | email

MONROE, OH (FOX19) -  Ask any trucker and they'll tell you close concentration is key for their safety and that of others.

"Watching the traffic around you is a full time job," said Kenneth Branton, a truck driver.

"You've got 80,000 pounds, I mean we are supposed to be responsible, we need to be responsible," said Cowboy Brown, another truck driver.

The feds have now mandated that responsibility with new federal guidelines that ban big rigs from texting on the road.  The new guidelines became effective Tuesday, the Transportation Secretary issued new legislation banning drivers of commercial trucks and buses from texting.

"The federal regulation is geared towards the larger trucks, straight trucks and buses," said Lt. Wayne Price of the State Highway Patrol.

Lt. Price says only federally trained officers will be able to enforce the new law.

"I think it's a great thing, I think obviously if we can minimize distractions, the obviously we're going to help to make the roads safer," Price said.

But how will police be able to see if a trucker is texting?

"I think there will be a learning curve on how to identify it," Price said.

Truckers say they're on board with the new law, and for many it's something they've already been enforcing for themselves.

"Whoever calls me, I don't even pick my phone up, it's all hands free," Brown said.

"I think it's a good law, I think not only for truckers but, everyone," said Garland Cook, a truck driver.

"Because when you're driving, you need your full concentration on driving," Branton said.

The Department of Transportation says violators of the new law could face civil or criminal penalties of up to nearly $3,000.

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