The US has made it illegal for commercial vehicles drivers to text while driving, in an effort to combat distracted driving.

Drivers of commercial vehicles including trucks and buses will now be subject to civil or criminal penalties of up to $2,750 if they text behind the wheel.

The federal ban follows the government’s plans to pursue regulatory action to curb distracted driving, announced during September 2009 Distracted Driving Summit.

Sending and receiving text messages make a driver take his eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds out of every 6 seconds while texting, according to research by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

Texting also increases the drivers’ accident chances by 20 times, compared to non-distracted drivers.