6 On Your Side: Texting Truckers

6 On Your Side: Texting Truckers

Driving while behind the wheel is dangerous in and of itself, but imagine trying to do it while behind the wheel of a 18,000 pound semi truck.

Although Texas does not have any state-wide laws banning texting and driving, the federal government has banned texting and driving for all truckers but the numbers of those who still do it are eye-opening.

"In a truck, we are held to a professional standard," said Robert McCauley, Iowa Park truck driver. "We should know better."

According to the Department Of Transportation, nearly 16,000 truckers were ticketed for using their cell phones last year.

Newschannel 6 spoke with Sgt. Bryan Witt with the Texas Department Of Public Safety about the 2010 law that is largely being ignored.

"We're still issuing citations for it," Sgt. Witt said. "Not only do we have marked units, we also have unmarked units that are out."

Witt says they know the tell-tale signs to look for, alerting them a driver may be distracted.

"Is he focused on the road or is he looking down, looking up? Is he distracted in some way? Once that catches our attention, then we start looking to see if they're using some sort of electronic device," Sgt. Witt said.

McCauley says he doesn't text at all, let alone text while driving.

"We all have hands free devices," McCauley said.

In fact, McCauley has a bluetooth device in his truck. The device allows him to keep both hands on the wheel.

A trucker reaching for a phone or other device is 6.7 times more likely to experience a truck accident. Something McCauley says he's not willing to risk.

"Just don't do it," McCauley said. "It's crazy. You're playing with fire. You're going to get burned."

Sgt. Witt says trucking companies are doing their part in being proactive. Many trucks are now equipped with cameras in the truck cab, in an effort to convince drivers to put their phones down while driving.