Hank Investigates: Texting Truckers - 7News Boston WHDH-TV

Hank Investigates: Texting Truckers

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See that big white truck? The driver's cruising down I-93 right near Milton, traffic whizzing by. Now let's slow down the video, look: Looks like this guy is texting. Texting! Here's another one. His eyes are on his phone, not on the road.  Here's another one. And another one. And under a new federal rule for truckers this and this and this are all illegal.

It's stupid. It's dangerous. And it killed Russell and Kim Hurd's daughter . Heather was on her way to visit a wedding planner when her car was smashed by a truck driver who admitted to police he was texting.

Russell Hurd, Father of victim

"Everyone has someone they love and adore, and it can all be taken from them in an instant."

Hurd and his wife now fight to crack down on texting. They were shocked by what our cameras caught on the highway.

Russell Hurd, Father of victim

"It's more than a tragedy, it's appalling."

These truckers should know better. This U-S Department of Transportation edict came out in January, it says drivers of commercial vehicles heavier than 10,000 pounds are prohibited from texting.

When they announced the new rule, D-O-T officials promised they meant business.

Ray LaHood, U.S. Secretary of  Transportation

"I'm goanna set the bar as high as I possibly can."

But look  at this trucker we found. And this one. Frankly, it was easy to find them. This guy is using two phones, one in each hand.

We sent our video to the US Secretary of Transportation. The same official who announced the rules.

Ray LaHood, U.S. Secretary of  Transportation 

"I'm outraged about it because I know these people are not driving safely and I know they're not taking responsibility for these big huge vehicles they're driving and people are going to be injured and in some instances going to be killed."

Truckers aren't allowed to talk on cell phones either. But, look: We caught this trucker talking away. And this one and this one.

Any distraction is dangerous but one study found texting behind the wheel is ten times more dangerous than drunk driving.

Researchers estimate for every 6 seconds a driver texts, his eyes are off the road for one, two, three, four seconds.

Any truck driver caught talking or texting can be fined a hefty $2750. Massachusetts State Police can issue the tickets, but they wouldn't look at our video or talk to us about it on camera. So how many drivers have they caught? They told us:

"We do not have statistics that address this."

So who's sharing the road with you? Our cameras proved the rules are being ignored--and that's putting your life in danger.

Ray LaHood, U.S. Secretary of  Transportation

"We obviously need to do more based on the video you provided to us."

Soon there will be more law enforcement eyes on the texting truckers--and everyone else on Massachusetts roads too. Starting September 30, under state law, it'll be illegal for anyone in Massachusetts to text while driving. And any police officer can issue a ticket.  

(Copyright (c) 2010 Sunbeam Television Corp. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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