Feds Hang Up On Commercial Drivers

By: Karen Elliott. This was posted Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

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In a continued effort to reduce accidents from distracted driving, the federal government has banned as of January 3, 2012, all commercial motor vehicle drivers from using hand-held mobile phones while driving.

Cell Phone Use Banned While DrivingThe new rule from the Department of Transportation prohibits commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers from holding, dialing, or reaching for a hand-held mobile phone while driving, except for emergency purposes. This rule applies to buses and trucks on interstate routes.

Commercial motor vehicle (CMV) means a motor vehicle or combination of motor vehicles used in commerce to transport passengers or property if the motor vehicle:

  1. Has a gross combination weight rating or gross combination weight of 11,794 kilograms or more (26,001 pounds or more), whichever is greater, inclusive of a towed unit(s) with a gross vehicle weight rating or gross vehicle weight of more than 4,536 kilograms (10,000 pounds), whichever is greater; or
  2. Has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross vehicle weight of 11,794 or more kilograms (26,001 pounds or more), whichever is greater; or
  3. Is designed to transport 16 or more passengers, including the driver; or
  4. Is of any size and is used in the transportation of hazardous materials as defined in the law. http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/rules-regulations/administration/fmcsr/fmcsrruletext.aspx?reg=383.5

Hands-free use of cellular phones is allowed. This new regulation does not affect Citizen Band Radio, GPS or fleet management system use.

Drivers can be fined $2,750 per violation and carriers may be fined $11,000.

It is recommended that employers institute new employee guidelines and training in order to be in compliance.

If you should need any assistance with developing a policy, the employment law lawyers at Sands Anderson PC would be pleased to assist.

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  • Karen – I’m glad I came across this. My husband is a commercial driver for a Northern Virginia company. They use the T-Mobile handheld radios all day long. This is very useful information . . . . would hate to see my paycheck go to pay a $2,750 personal fine.

    Posted by: Dawn Stanley | December 30th, 2011 at 4:29 pm

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