Driver Was Texting In Missouri Traffic Pileup

December 13, 2011 by staff 

Driver Was Texting In Missouri Traffic Pileup, A texting pickup truck driver who caused a deadly highway pileup in Missouri last year is causing federal accident investigators to take a hard look at the use of distracting devices behind the wheel.

The National Transportation Safety Board will lay out information gathered in its investigation over the past year and a half at a meeting Tuesday to decide the cause of the accident and make safety recommendations.

The board says a 19-year-old driver was texting just before his pickup crashed into the back of a tractor truck, beginning a chain collision. The pickup was rear-ended by a school bus, which in turn was rammed by a second school bus.

The pickup driver and a 15-year-old student on one of the school buses were killed. Thirty-eight other people were injured in the Aug. 5, 2010, accident near Gray Summit, Mo.

Nearly 50 students, mostly members of a high school band from St. James, Mo., were on the buses heading to the Six Flags St. Louis amusement park.

Accident investigators are seeing texting, cell phone calls and other distracting behavior by operators across all modes of transportation with increasing frequency, NTSB Chairman Deborah Hersman said. It has become routine for investigators to immediately request the preservation of cell phone and texting records when they launch an investigation, she said.

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