US targets texting behind the wheel

Transport authorities in the US have rolled out new measures to ban truck and bus drivers from texting on their mobile phones while driving.

Under the new measures, drivers will face fines of up to £1,700 if they are caught texting behind the wheel after research by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration showed that drivers who send and receive text messages take their eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds out of every six.

The US has lagged behind its international neighbours in addressing mobile phone use while driving, prompting vigorous campaigning from transportation secretary Ray LaHood to outlaw all phone use behind the wheel.

The issue has already been addressed within the Obama administration after the president signed an executive order directing federal employees not to text while driving government-owned vehicles.

A new organisation, FocusDriven, has been set up by the transportation department to raise awareness of the new measures and will follow in the footsteps of a similar campaign, Mothers Against Drink Driving, which successfully lobbied for tougher drink-driving laws.

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