Get ready to put both hands back on the wheels while moving freight, truckers.
A new rule from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has one message for drivers: Put down your hand-held cell phone.
On November 23, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced the final rule prohibiting truck and bus drivers from using a hand-held cell phone behind the wheel. The ban intends to increase safety and prevent distracted driving — and judging by the stiff penalties, DOT, FMCSA and PHMSA mean business. According to the ruling, an offender who is:
In the ban’s announcement, LaHood stated, “When drivers of large trucks, buses and hazardous materials take their eyes off the road for even a few seconds, the outcome can be deadly. I hope that this rule will save lives by helping commercial drivers stay laser-focused on safety at all times while behind the wheel.”
Though the penalties are serious and the rule is final, some regulators want to push the ban even further to prohibit ALL cell-phone use for truck drivers. The FMCSA did not find conclusive evidence to support such a ban at this time, but the future could bring even stricter mobile phone guidelines.
For now, we can’t over-emphasize the importance of putting down your phone while moving freight, even if doing so is a hassle. After all, you’ll not only protect your (and others’) life and health by avoiding the danger of taking your eyes off the road — you’ll protect your wallet and CMV by avoiding penalties and fines, too. And in today’s economy, anything you can do to protect your income helps to keep you ahead and on the road as successfully as possible.