On Tuesday, the federal government formally barred truckers and bus drivers from sending text messages while behind the wheel, putting its imprimatur on a prohibition embraced by many large trucking and transportation companies.
"We want the drivers of big rigs and buses and those who share the roads with them to be safe," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "This is an important safety step, and we will be taking more to eliminate the threat of distracted driving."
LaHood has made the effort to curtail driver distractions a centerpiece of his tenure as the nation's top transportation official. Some saw his announcement as a step that might ultimately fuel a push to ban cellphone use by all drivers.
LaHood's announcement followed a study released in July by Virginia Tech's Transportation Institute that found that when truckers text, they are 23 times as likely to be involved in a crash or close call.