What Should Truck Drivers Know About Distracted Driving:
New FMCSA regulations prohibit texting and hand-held mobile phone use while operating a commercial motor vehicle used in interstate commerce.
Drivers caught texting or using hand-held mobile phones are subject to fines, disqualifications, and being put out-of-service.
The FMCSA rules do not apply to devices used for dispatching, as long as they are used as part of the company’s fleet management system and are not being used for texting.
Research shows that CMV drivers who text were more than 23 times likely to be involved in a safety-critical event than those who do not.
CMV drivers dialing mobile phones were 6 times more likely to be involved in a safety-critical event.
While using hand-held devices to call or text is expressly prohibited, using the hands-free options of these devices is usually acceptable.
While state rules usually apply first, the fact that many states still haven’t devised rules to address distracted driving means that the FMCSA rules apply regardless of what state you are in.
How Does the FMCSA Define ‘Distracted Driving’?
· No Reaching
· No Holding
· No Dialing
· No Texting
· NO Reading
Penalties for truck drivers caught driving while distracted:
· Drivers can be fined up to $2,750.00
· Repeat offenses will result in the driver being disqualified, or put out-of-service for up to 120 days.
· Violations will negatively affect the employer’s SMS (Safety Measurement System) ratings.
· Violations are considered “serious traffic violations’ and penalties are taken from existing FCMSA guidelines.
Two serious traffic violations within a three-year perios will get a driver disqualified for 60 days, while three violations in three years will put a driver out-of-service for 120 days. Additionally drivers will be subjuect to hefty civil fines.
The penalties for using a hand-held device while driving are in addition to whatever the driver’s employer dishes out for violating any of their particular policies on the subject, many times including termination. Most employers will have policies in line with the laws, as distracted drivers who cause a wreck while operating under the company flag are giant lawsuits waiting to happen.
It is estimated that a dialing or texing driver takes his eyes off of the road betweem 3.8 and 4.6 seconds at a time. Not a long time, it seems, until you realize that at 55mph, the truck will travel over 300 feet longer than a football field.
How Likely is The Risk Of An Accident?
· Texting: 23.2 times as likely
· Writing: 9.0
· Dial Cell Phone: 5.9
· Reach for electronic device: 6.7
· Look at Map: 7.0
· Reach for object in vechile: 3.1
· Talk or listen to CB Radio: 0.6
· Talk or listen to hands-free phone: 0.4
NO CALLS, NO TEXTING, NO TICKETS
By: Brett Aquila