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Bus and large commercial truck drivers have been banned from texting while driving or using handheld cell phones.
The U.S. Department of Transportation now prohibits drivers of interstate buses and trucks over 10,000 pounds from sending text messages on hand-held devices, and is effective immediately, the Associated Press reports.
Officials from the trucking and bus industry said they support the texting ban. The trade association for the wireless industry, CTIA, also supports the ban.
To date, 19 states and the District of Columbia already prohibit all drivers from texting behind the wheel, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association.
Several notable incidents helped to spur legislation, including the San Antonio's VIA public bus driver crash caught on tape. Adrian Perez took his eyes off the road texting on his cell phone and ran into an SUV that was stopped ahead of the bus.
That accident helped to fuel U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood's national texting ban campaign.
Now, violators can be fined up to $2,750.
As previously discussed, texting while driving is already banned for federal staff, according to an executive ordered recently signed by President Barack. Federal employees were required to comply with the ban starting on Dec. 30, 2009.
The National Safety Council estimates that at least 1.6 million crashes are caused annually by drivers using cell phones and texting.
FocusDriven is a new non-profit partially sponsored by the Department of Transportation. The group, modeled after Mothers Against Drunk Drivers, hopes to raise awareness about the dangers of distracted driving.
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