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Rule to ban handheld cell phone use for commercial drivers

January 10, 2011

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Washington – A Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration proposed rule would prohibit commercial truck and bus drivers from talking on a handheld cell phone while driving.

According to a notice of proposed rulemaking (.pdf file) published Dec. 21, commercial motor vehicle drivers caught violating the law would face penalties of up to $2,750 for each offense and disqualification of their commercial driver’s license for multiple offenses. Motor carriers that allow their drivers to use handheld cell phones while driving would face a maximum penalty of $11,000.

FMCSA said research has shown CMV drivers reaching for an object, such as a cell phone, while driving are 3 times more likely to be involved in a crash or safety-critical event. Drivers dialing a handheld cell phone increase their risk by 6 times, FMCSA said.

In September 2010, the agency issued a regulation banning text messaging (.pdf file) while operating a CMV.

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