As part of its campaign to put an end to the practice of distracted driving, the U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) proposed a new safety regulation that would specifically prohibit interstate commercial bus and truck drivers from using hand-held cell phones while operating a commercial motor vehicle (CMV).
"Every time a commercial truck or bus driver takes his or her eyes off the road to use a cell phone, even for a few seconds, the driver places everyone around them at risk," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "This proposed rule will go a long way toward keeping a driver's full attention focused on the road."
The proposed Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) rule would prohibit commercial drivers from reaching for, holding or dialing a cell phone while operating a CMV. Drivers who violate these restrictions would face federal civil penalties of up to $2,750 for each offense and disqualification of their commercial driver's license (CDL) for multiple offenses. Additionally, states would suspend a driver's CDL after two or more violations of any state law on hand-held cell phone use.
Motor carriers that allow their drivers to use hand-held cell phones while driving would face a maximum penalty of $11,000. Approximately four million interstate commercial drivers would be affected by this proposal.
FMCSA is providing 60 days for the public to comment on this rulemaking. The comment period begins once the proposed rule is published in the Federal Register.