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OOIDA supports DoT bid to curb distracted driving

GRAIN VALLEY, Mo. -- The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) will be supporting the DoT&rsq...

GRAIN VALLEY, Mo.The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) will be supporting the DoT’s efforts to curb distracted driving by participating in upcoming rulemaking sessions related to the issue.


The forthcoming meetings to discuss regulation and legislation, announced yesterday by Secretary of Transportation Ray Lahood, should be extended to all vehicle operators, not just truckers, OOIDA says.


“For years I’ve seen car drivers doing everything from reading books to putting on make-up. Now I see folks texting while driving all too often,” said OOIDA member and veteran trucker Dale Wiederholt. “All drivers need to put safety first and fully focus on operating their vehicles.”


OOIDA has said it would also like to see more programs that educate the motoring public about driving around big rigs. Current programs involve a state officer riding along with an owner/operator and watching for motorists who follow too closely or cut in front of tractor-trailers.


“These and related types of programs go a long way towards encouraging highway safety,” said OOIDA’s executive vice-president Todd Spencer.


Also testifying at yesterday’s hearing, held by the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, was Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Julius Genachowski who announced that the FCC would embark on a campaign to educate the public about the dangers of texting while driving.


“We applaud the Department of Transportation, the Senate and the House for focusing efforts on combating texting while driving. It is a terribly dangerous activity that has become all too common,” said Spencer.


OOIDA has also called upon government entities to provide law enforcement with the resources that they need to fully enforce existing laws on inattentive or negligent driving.


“Currently, there are laws on the books that provide police with the authority to ticket drivers who are doing something they shouldn’t behind the wheel. We need to encourage law enforcement to crack down on all drivers of all types of vehicles, not just truckers,” said Spencer.


However, Spencer cautioned that laws should be carefully crafted to address the problem while still protecting privacy rights.

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