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October 2, 2009 3:40 PM, EDT

LaHood Says Government to Ban Truckers’ Texting

Feds Eye Restrictions on In-Cab Technology
Larry Smith/Trans Pixs

WASHINGTON —  The Obama administration will ban texting by truck drivers and restrict the use of other in-cab technologies as part of its effort to eliminate distracted driving, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said Thursday.

LaHood, at the conclusion of a two-day hearing here on ways to combat driver distractions, said the Department of Transportation would “ban text messaging altogether, and restrict the use of cell phones by truck drivers,” as one of a series of steps aimed at reducing  highway deaths.

He said items such as onboard computing or communications devices would be subject to some restrictions in a regulation that DOT would “soon” write.

In addition to the truck texting ban, LaHood announced that President Obama had signed an executive order banning federal employees from texting while driving government vehicles, using government-issued phones to text and drive and from texting in personal vehicles while on official business.

During the summit, LaHood said texting while driving was “an epidemic” and that nearly 6,000 people were killed and more than 500,000 were injured in accidents last year involving a distracted driver.

By Sean McNally
Senior Reporter

Editor’s note: Check back with TTNews.com for updates to this issue.