All drivers of Commercial Motor Vehicles (CMV) should know by now about the new rule restricting their use of hand-held mobile telephones and devices. This rule was adopted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration and went into effect on January 3, 2012.
The purpose of the rule is to help reduce distracted driving and prevent roadway accidents, injuries and fatalities. According to the FMCSA, the odds of a driver being involved in a safety-critical event, such as an unintentional lane deviation, crash or near-crash, are 6 times greater when dialing a mobile phone while driving than when not doing so. Similarly, CMV drivers are 23 times more likely to be involved in a safety-critical event while texting and driving versus when not texting and driving.
Therefore, the rule restricts CMV drivers from reaching for or holding a mobile telephone while operating their vehicle, or pushing more than one button to operate the device. What this means is that the device must either be mounted or otherwise securely within reach at the control panel. In short, CMV drivers who use a mobile phone while driving can only operate a hands-free phone located in close proximity and cannot unsafely reach for a device, hold a mobile phone, or press multiple buttons.
So what are drivers still permitted to do?
-Locate the mobile phone so it is operable by the driver while restrained by properly adjusted safety belts.
-Utilize an earpiece or the speaker phone function.
-Use voice-activated or one-button touch features to initiate, answer, or terminate a call.
Drivers found not in compliance with these rules can face civil penalties of $2,750 and disqualification for multiple offenses. In addition, employers are prohibited from requiring or allowing their drivers to text or use a hand-held mobile phone while driving and may be subject to civil penalties up to $11,000.
CMV drivers wishing to comply with the new rules and improve roadway safety can follow FMCSA’s simple slogan: No Call, No Text, No Ticket!
For more information, please contact RiskControl360’s Group Safety Coordinator, Lisa Shaver at (877) 360-3608 ext. 2367.