There are new FMCSA rules that restrict the use of cell and mobile devices by drivers of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs). This restrictions prohibit a CMV driver from holding a mobile device to make a call, or dialing by pressing more than a one button. CDL drivers who use a mobile phone while driving are only allowed to use a hands-free phone that must be located as close to them as possible.
The research is pretty clear on this topic. The odds of being involved in a safety-critical event (i.e., crash) are 6 times greater for CMV drivers who engage in using a mobile phone while driving than for those who do not. Distracted drivers took their eyes off the forward roadway for an average of 3.8 seconds. At 55 mph, it’s like a driver traveling 306 ft, the approximate length of a football field, without looking at the road!
What does this rule mean to drivers and carriers? • Fines and Penalties – Using a hand-held mobile phone while driving a CMV can result in driver disqualification. Penalties can be up to $2,750 for drivers and up to $11,000 for employers who allow or require drivers to use a hand-held communications device while driving. • Disqualification – Multiple violations of the prohibition of using a hand-held mobile phone while driving a CMV can result in a driver disqualification by FMCSA. Multiple violations of State laws prohibiting use of a mobile phone while driving a CMV is a serious traffic violation that could result in a disqualification by a State of drivers required to have a Commercial Drivers License.
What Can You Do • Ensure the mobile phone is within close enough proximity to the driver. • Use an earpiece or the speaker phone function. • Use voice-activated texting and dialing. • Use the hands-free feature. To comply, a driver must have his or her mobile telephone located where he or she is able to initiate, answer, or terminate a call by touching a single button.
We all know that distracted driving can be dangerous but the odds of causing a catastrophic type even are much higher for the CMV driver. Just put the phone down and remember what FMCSA says…