Nearly 1.6 million crashes occur each year due to texting while driving, according to the National Safety Council, which is one reason the U.S. Department of Transportation has imposed a ban on truck drivers from texting or using handheld cell phones while operating their trucks.

The ban went in effect last month and has been praised by many in the trucking industry as a step that continues to make commercial truck driving one of the safest professions in America.

“ATA has been vocal in its support of Transportation Secretary LaHood’s quest to combat distracted driving and this is another appropriate step toward achieving that goal,” ATA President and CEO Bill Graves said in a release last month. “Studies have shown that actions like texting and dialing a phone can greatly increase crash risk, so by taking steps to curb these behaviors hold great promise to improve highway safety.”

Graves said his organization has been urging a ban on texting while driving for truckers for many years and hopes to see a similar ban for drivers of passenger vehicles in all 50 states.

“ATA’s progressive safety agenda includes support for bans on texting and using handheld cellphones for all drivers,” Graves added. “While the federal government cannot enact such bans for drivers of passenger vehicles, ATA urges all states to follow the lead of DOT and FMCSA and take steps to ban these dangerous activities for all drivers.”

Federal officials are pushing to make truck driving safer as the demand for commercial trucking services continues to grow. Commercial truck driving is already considered a safe occupation, especially with the right training, and the new ban on texting and cell phone use is expected to cut down on even more accidents.

The ban comes at a time when more and more commercial truck drivers are hitting the road due to an increase in the need for commercial trucking services. The demand for commercial trucking services has been growing for the past few years and is expected to grow even higher over the next decade. Part of the growth is from a rebounding economy but it is also due to the fact that many truck drivers are retiring and there are not enough professional trained commercial truck drivers to take their place.

At the Diesel Driving Academy’s commercial truck driver training program students are given the best in CDL training and put at the front of the line in securing some of the best trucking jobs available.

Driving a truck professionally can be one of the most stable careers, but it also one of the safest, especially as new regulations are enacted to protect this rapidly growing industry and the thousands of new commercial truck drivers expected to hit the road over the next several years.