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Truck Driver Distracted by Porn in Deadly Crash

New York State Police have reported that last month’s deadly truck accident on Interstate 90 in Pembroke, New York was the result of the truck driver watching a pornographic movie on a laptop computer at the time he crashed his tractor-trailer into a disabled vehicle.

The Buffalo area resident who lost her life in the crash two weeks before Christmas was 33 years old. Moments before being struck by the big rig, she had hit a deer with her vehicle and was awaiting aid in that disabled vehicle on the roadside. The trucker, distracted by a streaming video on his laptop, failed to see the vehicle and struck it at tremendous speed.

The driver of the truck stands charged with second-degree manslaughter and is also accused of lying on log books to conceal the fact that he was on duty for more than 27 hours and had had only 4 hours of sleep at the time he crashed into the victim’s car, clear violations of transportation safety law.

The recent ban on texting while driving by commercial drivers (see my blog post of February 1, 2010) does much to improve safety on our roadways. However, as this tragic incident points out, in order for laws to be truly effective in protecting us from unsafe drivers, they need to restrict the drivers’ use of any of several devices that may distract them from focusing on the road, not just cell phones.

This case also points out the importance of effective enforcement of existing safety rules. Existing hours of service rules must be enforced and attempts to relax those rules must be resisted if we are to improve safety for all.

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