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Regulations aim to prevent distracted truck driving

Being distracted while driving by anything, including one's phone, the radio, one's food or even another passenger's conversation, can easily cause a serious car accident. This is even more true with respect to commercial vehicles.

A distracted truck driver presents a particular hazard to Berks County, Pennsylvania motorists because, when they crash, the size of their vehicle can leave other, smaller cars severely mangled and the occupants of the car either dead or seriously injured.

Truckers also have a harder time reacting should they take their eyes off the road for a moment and then suddenly realize there is a danger ahead. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), an agency that regulates many Pennsylvania truckers, a trucker who uses his or her phone will not be fully watching the road for almost 4 seconds, about the time it takes to travel a little over 100 yards, the distance of a football field. Add to that the additional time it takes to stop or maneuver a truck, and one can see the problem.

For this reason, the FMCSA prohibits truckers from "texting", which includes all internet use as well as checking one's email or instant messages, and also prohibits truckers from making traditional calls on cellular phone while they are driving. The only exception is that truck driver can make a call if it means just having to push a single button and then using a hands free device.

The FMCSA will punish those truck drivers and truck companies which choose to disregard this rule by imposing fines or, in severe cases, even prohibiting them from conducting their business. Furthermore, violating this rule can also be used as evidence by a victim of a distracted trucker to prove negligence and get compensation for his or her injuries.

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