Federal Rule Bans Cell Phone Use by Commercial Drivers: 4 Things You Should Know

In late November, the Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration published a final rule that places significant restrictions on commercial drivers who use the phone while driving. As of January 3, 2012, drivers of commercial motor vehicles may no longer use handheld devices at the wheel. For your reference, four things you should know about the ban:

1.Don’t touch that dial…

“The new rule from the Department of Transportation prohibits commercial motor vehicle drivers from holding, dialing, or reaching for a hand-held mobile phone while driving, except for emergency purposes.” (Feds Hang Up On Commercial Drivers by Sands Anderson PC)

2.You can still make calls…

“Commercial motor vehicle drivers are still permitted to use mobile telephones and other mobile devices… Essentially, drivers may initiate, answer or terminate a call if they can do so 1) with the push of a single button, 2) on a device within their reach, and 3) without holding it in their hand.” (DOT Restricts Mobile Phone Use Effective January 2012 by Fisher & Phillips LLP)

3.Violating the rule will cost drivers. And their employers…

“Drivers who violate the restriction will face federal civil penalties of up to $2,750 for each offense and disqualification from operating a commercial motor vehicle for multiple offenses… Commercial truck and bus companies that allow their drivers to use hand-held cell phones while driving will face a maximum penalty of $11,000.” (Law Passed Banning Hand Held Cell Phone Use by Commercial Drivers by Tammy Ensslin)

4.The smart money’s on training drivers to comply…

“Although the rule does not require motor carriers to establish written policies or training programs for their drivers, it would be prudent to do so. A motor carrier should establish policies or practices that make it clear that the employer does not require or allow hand-held mobile telephone use while driving a CMV, particularly since the carrier is responsible for its drivers’ conduct.” (Labor & Employment Department Alert – Feds Ban Hand-Held Cell Phone Use by Drivers of Buses and Large Trucks by Fox Rothschild)

See also:

1.3 Million Crashes Per Year Caused by Calls or Texting (Lawyers.com)

New Rules Prohibit Commercial Drivers From Using Hand-Held Mobile Devices (Howard Ankin)

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