The U.S. Dept. of Transportation announced Tuesday that it is prohibiting drivers of interstate buses and trucks over 10,000 pounds from sending text messages while operating commercial vehicles. The prohibition is effective immediately. Those truck and bus drivers who text while driving could be subject to civil or criminal penalties of up to $2,750.
According to the Indianapolis Star, nineteen states and the District of Columbia already prohibit all drivers from texting behind the wheel and another 10 states restrict texting by novice drivers. Indiana passed a new law in 2009 that prohibited cell phone use by drivers under the age of 18.
Several bills, including two authored by State Senators Tim Lanane and Karen Tallian, have been proposed this session that would prohibit anyone from texting while driving. House Bill (HB) 1279 has been scheduled to receive a hearing in the House Public Policy Committee on Wednesday, Jan. 27 at 8:30 a.m. HB 1279 provides that it is a Class C infraction if a person uses a telecommunications device to transmit a text message or electronic mail message while operating a moving motor vehicle