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DOT Sets Final Rule Banning Truck Drivers' Use of Hand-Held Phones


The rule prohibits commercial drivers from using hand-held phones while driving a truck or bus, sets federal civil penalties of up to $2,750 for each offense and disqualifies drivers from operating a commercial motor vehicle after multiple offenses.
Commercial truck and bus companies that allow drivers to use hand-held cell phones while driving will face a penalty of up to $11,000. The rule will affect about four million commercial drivers, DOT said.
However, the rule specifically allows for the continued use of hands free devices stating, "The Agency (FMCSA) does not believe sufficient data exist to justify a ban of both hand-held and hands-free use of mobile telephones by drivers operating CMVs in interstate commerce."
The rule also bans the use of push-to-talk technology which the agencies consider to be cell phone technology, but does not ban the use of CB radios because, "The use of CB and two-way radios and other electronic devices by CMV drivers for other functions is outside the scope of consideration in this rulemaking."
FMCSA issued a regulation banning truck drivers from texting while operating in September 2010. PHMSA followed with a companion regulation in February 2011, banning texting by intrastate hazardous materials drivers.
This rule is effective 30 days after publication in the Federal Register.
This rule was published December 2, 2011.