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10/3/2011 - NTSB recommends banning commercial drivers from operating cellphones

Officials are considering a ban on cell phone use by truckers.

The National Transportation Safety Board is recommending that handheld and hands-free cellphones be banned from commercial drivers' use in all 50 states and D.C.

Deborah Hersman, chairman of the NTSB, said mobile phone use among drivers is becoming more commonplace, posing a serious issue for traffic safety.

"Distracted driving is becoming increasingly prevalent, exacerbating the danger we encounter daily on our roadways," said Hersman. "It can be especially lethal when the distracted driver is at the wheel of a vehicle that weighs 40 tons and travels at highway speeds."

The proposed ban comes after a March 2010 accident in which a tractor semitrailer struck a 15-passenger van after crossing the median strip in Kentucky on Interstate 65. The truck driver and 10 of the 12 people in the van were killed. Investigators determined the driver had been using his phone while driving, as four calls and text messages were made in the minutes leading up to the accident.

As always, Selective encourages all drivers to stay safe and drive carefully on the road. Businessowners may want establish policies regarding the use of cellphones while driving, as accidents may increase commercial auto insurance rates. 

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