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Cell Phone Restrictions for Truck Drivers; CDL Holders

Year in and year out, commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers are involved in on the road accidents. To help protect against this in the future, new texting and mobile phone restrictions have been enacted.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), along with the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), have published a new set of rules that prohibit drivers who are transporting placardable quantities of hazardous materials from using a mobile device while operating their vehicle.

This is just one more way that the U.S. Department of Transportation is hoping to put an end to distracted driving.

When it comes to texting, CMV drivers are prohibited while operating their vehicle. Not only does this include sending text messages, but accessing the web while driving is also illegal.

What about Phone Calls?

Just the same as texting and driving, CMV drivers are no longer permitted to reach for or hold a mobile phone. Those who want to use a mobile phone while driving must rely on hands-free technology to do so.

Drivers can use a mobile phone and not break the law by doing the following:

  • Utilize hands-free technology, such as a speaker phone function or an earpiece
  • Use one-button touch or voice activated features to control the phone

What are the Consequences?

  • Fines –  Those who are caught can face a fine of up to $2,750. Along with this, a driver may lose their license for multiple offenses. It is also important to note that motor carriers are on the hook if they suggest that drivers text or use a mobile device while driving. They can be hit with a penalty of up to $11,000.
  • Disqualification –  According to the FMCSA, multiple convictions for cell phone use while driving a commercial vehicle can result in driver disqualification. This is considered a serious traffic violation and can result in a CDL driver disqualification for up to 120 days.
  • Serious or Fatal Accidents – Cell phone use while driving is risky because the driver takes their eyes off of the roadway. This is true for all drivers, not just ruck drivers.  Avoid serious and fatal accidents, and obey the law, by leaving your cell phone alone while on the road.

Why is this a Big Deal?

According to the FMCSA, research shows that CMV drivers who text while operating a vehicle are 23.2 times more likely to be involved in a “safety-critical event” such as serious and fatal accidents.

 

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