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Organization voices support for DOT ban on texting by commercial drivers (1/29)

January 29, 2010
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The National Solid Wastes Management Association (NSWMA) has expressed support for the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) announcement prohibiting texting by drivers of commercial vehicles such as large trucks and buses, according to a NSWMA press release. The prohibition is effective immediately and is the latest in a series of actions taken by DOT to address distracted driving since it convened a national summit on the issue last year. NSWMA represents private solid waste, recycling and disposal companies in the United States.

NSWMA was one of the first associations to advocate for a national ban on texting while driving. NSWMA has publicly supported legislation introduced by Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) to ban texting while driving. NSWMA participated in the DOT’s September 2009 Distracted Driving Summit. Many NSWMA members already prohibit texting or cell phone use while driving company vehicles.

"The solid waste industry applauds this action by the Department of Transportation," said Bruce J. Parker, president and CEO of NSWMA. "With a fleet of more than 130,000 trucks driving many miles each day to collect and manage America's solid waste, roadway safety is of paramount concern to our industry. Making texting illegal while driving a commercial vehicle is a sensible idea that will help protect garbage collectors and millions of other Americans who use our nation’s roads every day."

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has concluded drivers who send and receive text messages take their eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds out of every 6 seconds while texting, the release says. Drivers who text while driving are more than 20 times more likely to get in an accident than non-distracted drivers. Because of today’s DOT action, truck and bus drivers who text while driving commercial vehicles may be subject to civil or criminal penalties of up to $2,750.

NSWMA and its members promote safety as a core value. America’s garbage and recycling collectors share busy roads with increasingly distracted motorists. As a result, being struck by motorists is a substantial hazard for solid waste collection employees. NSWMA offers a variety of safety videos, training materials and programs to help reduce fatalities, injuries and accidents. NSWMA's Slow Down to Get Around program is a public awareness effort to remind motorists to drive more carefully near solid waste and recycling vehicles, to reduce struck-by accidents.

To learn more about how you can help protect yourself and keep garbage collectors safe on our roads, visit http://www.environmentalistseveryday.org/safety.

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