Kentucky crash brings call for transportation changes nationwide - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Kentucky crash brings call for transportation changes nationwide

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LOUISVILLE, KY. (WDRB) -- Federal officials want to ban the use of mobile phones by commercial drivers except in an emergency. 

That's after a truck driver involved in a crash that killed 11 people near Munfordville in 2010 was determined to be using his cell phone at the time.   

The truck driver, Kenneth Laymon of Jasper, Ala., and 10 other people died in March of 2010.  Laymon's vehicle crossed the median on Interstate 65 in central Kentucky and struck the van carrying members of a Mennonite family.  They were returning to Kentucky from a wedding in Iowa.

"Distracted driving is becoming increasingly prevalent, exacerbating the danger we encounter daily on our roadways,"said NTSB Chairman Deborah Hersman in a news release. "It can be especially lethal when the distracted driver is at the wheel of a vehicle that weighs 40 tons and travels at highway speeds."

To see the executive summary and list of recommendations released in the hearing, click here.

Investigators say the driver used his mobile phone both for calls and text messages 69 times in the 24 hours before the accident.  In the minutes before the crash, the NTSB says the driver made four calls.  The final call was being made as the wreck happened.

A Kentucky State Police investigation had already concluded that distraction and cell phone use were factors in the wreck.  Laymon's body tested negative for drug or alcohol use.

The NTSB also says the median barrier made the wreck worse because it was not designed against  a vehicle the size of Laymon's truck.

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