- FMCSA Restrictions on Mobile phones began 01/03/12 -
On January 3, 2012 the new US DOT Cell Phone ban went into effect for the transportation industry. The Safety Specialists at National Safety Compliance, have received a number of questions regarding this new rule. Below are some resources and clarifications you may find helpful:
What kinds of communications does it cover?
This rule is restricted to Mobile Phone communications. A driver may use a cell phone but " they must be able to initiate, answer, or terminate a call by touching a single button while the driver is in the seated driving position and properly restrained by a seat belt." Push To Talk phones, such as Nextel and those offered by Verizon are not allowed as they require the continuous holding of the phone and depressing of the TALK button to operate. TEXTING and DIALING your phone violates this rule.CB Radios are NOT covered by this rule!
Who is covered by this rule?
Drivers operating Commercial Motor Vehicles engaged in Interstate Commerce or operating only Intrastate but carrying placard able amounts of HAZMAT are included. Non-CDL drivers operating vehicles over 10,000 lbs across state lines would therefore be part of this rule; The rule only applies when operating the Commercial Motor Vehicle. Tow Truck operators on an emergency police dispatch are not covered.
What are the consequences?
$2,750.00 fine to the driver per incident! Up to a maximum of $11,000 fine to the carrier!
Disqualification from operating a commercial motor vehicle for multiple offenses. Additionally, states will suspend a driver's commercial driver's license (CDL) after two or more serious traffic violations
What should you do?
As an employer - inform your drivers about this rule. Modify your policies to address the new regulation. Invest in state of the art hands free devices if your business demands continued communication.
As driver - turn off your phone while driving and change your Voicemail message to say " Leave me a message and I will call you back when I pull over ".