Federal regulators have taken action against interstate commercial bus and truck drivers who use cell phones. From now on, the drivers will face a federal fine of $2,750 if they pick up the phone while behind the wheel of their commercial vehicle. The U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced the rule last month in Washington, D.C..
It is a joint effort of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA). In addition to the fines for drivers, the bus and truck companies face an $11,000 fine for allowing their drivers to use cell phones while driving their work vehicles.
A spokesperson for the PHMSA said he hopes the rule will deter distracted driving by interstate commercial drivers. Some of the nation’s largest bus and trucking companies already have company policies against cell phone use by drivers. The new rule, however, does not apply to intrastate commercial drivers. One federal official commented that he hopes the states follow suit in an effort to cut down on deaths caused by distracted driving.
Research showed that a commercial driver who takes the time to reach for a phone while driving, is three times more likely to cause a vehicle crash. Is the new federal rule sufficient to curb distracted driving by commercial truck and bus drivers?
Koonz, McKenney, Johnson, DePaolis & Lightfoot, L.L.P.
Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Virginia Injury Attorneys
Approved by attorney Kelly Fisher