In yet another crackdown on drivers' cell phone practices, the U.S. government today banned texting by drivers of large commercial trucks and buses in an effort to stem the growing tide of distracted driving.

Department of Transportation
Secretary Ray LaHood announced in a statement that the ban takes effect immediately. It follows a similar ban in December for drivers of federal government vehicles.

"We want the drivers of big rigs and buses and those who share the roads with them to be safe," LaHood said. "This is an important safety step and we will be taking more to eliminate the threat of distracted driving."

Research by trucking regulators finds that drivers take their eyes off the road for much of the time they send and receive text messages, and they are significantly more at risk of getting into an accident, Reuters reports. With the new law, truckers who send texts while driving may be fined up to $2,750.

Additionally, almost two dozen U.S. states already have prohibited texting while driving for all motor vehicles, and many others are considering following suit. Legislation has also been introduced in Congress to prohibit the practice.

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