Truck Drivers Banned From Texting While Driving Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has issued a full ban on texting while driving trucks and large buses. The American Trucking Associations and American Bus Association say they support the federal ban, as do many rank-and-file drivers.
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Truck Drivers Banned From Texting While Driving

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Truck Drivers Banned From Texting While Driving

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Truck Drivers Banned From Texting While Driving

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ARI SHAPIRO, Host:

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood remains focused on distractions behind the wheel. LaHood has announced a ban on texting while driving. It applies to people who drive commercial trucks and buses. Many of those drivers support the ban, as NPR's Adam Hochberg reports.

ADAM HOCHBERG: But in the handful of cases where the link is known, the results often have been tragic. Kim Heard(ph) lost her 26-year-old daughter Heather two years ago, this month, in an accident near Orlando.

KIM HEARD: And just undescribable(ph), and we will never ever be the same.

HOCHBERG: Heather and her fiancé were on their way to meet a wedding planner when a semi smashed into a line of cars at a red light. Heather was one of two people killed - her fiancé was injured. The truck driver told police that just before the accident he was trying to send a text message to his company.

HEARD: He was cresting a hill and there were 10 vehicles stopped at a traffic signal and one witness that was on the road there, said that his head was down. So, he was playing with whatever device while he was traveling 65 miles an hour.

HOCHBERG: Aliza Ski(ph), whose 13-year-old daughter was killed by a distracted trucker, praised the Transportation Department action but said more must be done.

ALIZA SKI: I think it's a baby step in the right direction. People just really need to become educated on how dangerous this is and that it's hurting people and it's taking lives.

(SOUNDBITE OF TRUCKING MOVING)

HOCHBERG: Both the American Trucking Association and the American Bus Association say they support the federal ban, as do many rank and file drivers. At a rest area along Interstate 85 near Greensboro, North Carolina, trucker Ronnie Hampton was happy to hear about the ban, and about the $2,700 penalty for commercial drivers who violate it.

RONNIE HAMPTON: I ain't got nary problem with it. If you're out there and you see people with the phone up in their fingers and got both thumbs on it with their knees up against the steering wheel - you know, that's ridiculous.

HOCHBERG: Do you use one of those things?

HAMPTON: No, whenever I'm driving? No. I don't use my phone.

HOCHBERG: In downtown Washington, D.C. yesterday, motor coach driver Donna White was waiting for a group of tourists. She says she also won't text or talk on her phone while she's behind the wheel.

DONNA WHITE: I feel that any truck driver or bus driver that would text while they're carrying other people's lives in their hands - it's just not good. I would never do it, and God help the people who are doing it.

HOCHBERG: Adam Hochberg, NPR News.

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