• Feds Hang Up On Commercial Drivers
  • January 5, 2012 | Author: Karen S. Elliott
  • Law Firm: Sands Anderson PC - Richmond Office
  • 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.

    The 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.