U.S. DOT proposed rule to ban hand-held cell phone use
Jul 25th, 2011
The Ban on handheld cell phones is a regulatory rule authorized by the Motor Carrier Safety Act of 1984. This act provides the authority to regulate the safety of operation of Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) drivers, motor carriers, and vehicle equipment.
This regulation applies to the use of hand-held mobile telephones by interstate CMV drivers. The ban prohibits reaching for, dialing and holding a mobile telephone. CMV drivers are permitted to use a “compliant mobile telephone”. A compliant mobile telephone is a solution that has a hands-free capability with a speaker phone function or a wired/wireless earphone and has a one-touch dialing feature.
Two way radios are outside the scope of this rule and are therefore acceptable to use while operating a CMV. Push to talk features on a cell phone are deemed the same as a hand held mobile telephone and are banned in this rule/regulation.
Violations of this restriction may result in a civil penalty imposed on drivers in an amount up to $2,750. A civil penalty may be imposed on employers who fail to require their drivers to comply in an amount up to $11,000. The FMCSA holds motor carriers accountable for the actions of their drivers especially when the employer allows or requires the use of hand-held mobile telephone. A motor carrier should put in place company policies that make it clear that a carrier does not allow or require hand-held mobile phones.