After months and months of talk regarding the hazards of texting while driving, the U.S. government has finally acted. According to The New York Times, the Department of Transportation will enact new rules which will bar interstate truck drivers from sending text messages while in transit. We’ve long argued fro such legislation to cover all drivers, but truck drivers represent a good start. After all, they operate the largest, most dangerous vehicles on the road. Reducing their distraction level can make our highways a little bit safer, though we could still do more in that regard. I do have a question about this new legislation, however. How does the government plan to enforce the rule? Truckers in violation of his law face a penalty of up to $2,750, quite the hefty fee for an act as simple as sending a text message. In theory it creates ample incentive for drivers to avoid the habit. Perhaps their company will take care of the fine if caught, but it’s unlikely that a company will continue paying for repeat offenses. That should be enough to keep truckers honest, but there remains one obstacle. How will police officers catch truckers in the act? Highway police ride around in small cruisers. Truckers sit high atop their rig, basically out of eyesight, especially at night. In order to enact a stop and deliver a ticket, an officer has to catch the trucker in the act. Given my experience passing trucks on the highway, I don’t see how this is possible. As long as the trucker keeps the phone below window level, they could conceivably send text messages undetected. Then again, I don’t know if this will be the primary method of enforcement. The best way would be to obtain the driver’s cell phone records, which will display the times of messages sent and received. If those times coincide with a time the driver was on the road, the fine takes effect. I doubt, however, that truckers will agree to this. Road enforcement seems the way for now, even though it’s not nearly as effective. Again, this new law represents progress, not an end by any means. Texting while driving is unsafe, not only for the driver but for those surrounding him or her on the road. I’ve never favored laws that protect people from themselves, but in this case it’s also protecting people from other people. Hopefully we see more of this in the future.