In the United States, OOIDA (Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association) which represent thousands of commercial vehicle drivers,  has asked the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to clarify the list of technologies and applications that will be permitted and prohibited under the agency’s proposed rule which will ban texting for commercial drivers.

Many truck drivers use laptops and smart phones for recording duty status or for GPS navigation but the proposed regulations will lump laptops and smart phones in with texting regardless of the application.

OOIDA supports a ban on texting while driving, but believes clarification is required. The proposed rule would still allow GPS devices and fleet management tools such as Qualcomm, but ban laptops and smart phones that perform similar functions.

“Because the proposed ban covers those devices and not fleet management systems, this rule imposes a disparate burden on small business,” OOIDA President and CEO Jim Johnston stated.

“OOIDA is concerned that the proposed rule permits the use of ‘fleet management systems’ without any analysis of what kind of distraction they impose on drivers,” Johnston stated.

“OOIDA cannot believe that FMCSA simply put its faith in ‘safety conscious fleet managers’ to not require drivers to type or read messages while driving.”