Mich. vehicle prohibits truck, bus drivers from using phones in route
By Andrew Keller, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
SAGINAW COUNTY, MI (WNEM) -
Truck driver Dennis Feuquay has more than 25 years of on-road experience. He said he believes cell phones are a real threat to drivers and others on the roads.
"The texting, I see a lot, and people talking on their cell phone, and drifting, and they're not paying attention at all to the roads, they're slowing down, the next thing you know they're right up on you, it is a big distraction," said Feuquay.
He drives hazardous loads for PVS Nolwood, a chemical manufacturing and transport company out of Detroit. On Monday, Michigan's Vehicle Code was updated to make it illegal for commercial drivers like Feuquay to hold a phone up to their ear while in route unless they're using hands-free devices.
"My eyes are on the road and safety is the number one. I mean, you don't want to have an accident, how are you going to explain it? 'Oh, had to answer the phone'. No it's not a good answer," said Feuquay.
Some drivers TV5 spoke with Monday night believe this law could help improve highway safety.
"It's scary enough to be driving by those big trucks anyways, and any kind of distraction for them driving, it'd make me nervous. Anybody operating vehicles should not be distracted by cell phones, texting, eating, and other than that, our highways need to be safer," said motorist Mike Hudson.
But other drivers believe a law to ban hand-held use for all drivers might be the true key.
"Obviously, everybody relies so heavily on their phones, with GPS, communication in general, I think it would be difficult to give up, but at the same time I see the safety, there's a lot of accidents for small cars too," said driver Krista Vaughn.
Feuquay, who puts a lot of miles on the roads during a given week, said he witnesses the problems the phones cause and he agrees the rules need to be tightened up.
"I think it's a good law, as long they can do it across the road with the four-wheelers, the cars, and everybody else," said Feuquay.
Federal law banned hand-held cell phone usage for commercial drivers nationwide in January of 2012, unless the drivers are using a hands-free device. Michigan's Vehicle Code reinforces federal law.
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