With Congress considering legislation to ban text messaging while driving, the trucking industry is fighting to keep its in-cab computers. Truckers use the machines to get directions and talk to dispatchers without having to pull over, saving them precious time on long hauls. The industry says the devices are less distracting than a BlackBerry or iPhone, and should be exempt from the law.
“We think that’s overkill,” an industry spokesman tells the New York Times. Truck computers show “maybe two or four or six lines” of text, “and they’re not reading the screens every second.” But safety advocates say the devices, which include a dashboard monitor and a keyboard kept in the trucker’s lap, are plenty distracting, and even more dangerous given the size of the vehicle.