Trucker on cell phone at time of crash that killed 11 15 Sep 11

(Reuters) – The truck driver involved in a 2010 Kentucky crash that killed 11 people was on his cell phone when the accident occurred, federal officials said on Tuesday, and they called for a national ban barring commercial drivers from calling or texting behind the wheel.

Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board said Kenneth Laymon, the 45-year-old driver of the truck, had just initiated a call when his vehicle and the 53-foot-long trailer it was hauling crossed a median on Interstate 65 near Munfordville, Kentucky and plowed into a van carrying 12 people.

Laymon and 10 people in the van died in the March 26, 2010 incident. Two children in the van, who were strapped into child restraint seats, sustained minor injuries.

The NTSB recommended that the U.S. Department of Transportation publish regulations prohibiting cellular telephone and texting by commercial drivers except in emergencies.

That recommendation will now be sent on to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the arm of the DOT that regulates the trucking industry., as well as the transportation departments of all 50 states.