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September 21, 2010 4:15 PM, EDT

DOT Announces Broader Texting Ban for Hazmat Drivers

WASHINGTON — Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said Tuesday that the federal government would seek to ban text messaging by all drivers hauling hazardous materials.

LaHood made the announcement in starting the Department of Transportation's second “distracted driving summit” here.

“We’re initiating a new rulemaking that will limit commercial truck drivers' use of all electronic devices while transporting hazardous materials,” he said.

A DOT spokeswoman said that the new proposal was necessary because the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration only has the authority to ban texting by interstate carriers, while the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration can regulate intrastate hazmat carriers.

DOT’s rule banning texting by truckers was sent to the White House last week for final review. which LaHood, who has campaigned strongly against texting while driving, touted as soon to be the “law of the land.”(Click here for previous story.)

 

That rule will take effect 30 days after it is published in the Federal Register, which is likely to happen this week.