The FMCSA has issued final rules prohibiting drivers from texting or using hand-held mobile devices while driving commercial motor vehicles:
Limiting the Use of Wireless Communication Devices
Restricting the Use of Cellular Phones
Under 49 C.F.R. § 391.15(f), a driver can be disqualified as CMV driver for violating the prohibition on the use of mobile devices while driving. Depending on the number and timing of the driver’s violations, the duration of the disqualification could last anywhere from 60 up to 120 days.
Companies are also prohibited from requiring or allowing their drivers to text or use hand-held mobile devices while driving. As such, motor carriers should institute policies that ban drivers from using mobile devices while driving to ensure the safety of the employee driver as well as everyone else on the road.
Motor carriers run the risk of liability when hiring or retaining unqualified drivers. Among other things, motor carriers should ensure that all drivers comply with DOT rules limiting the use of wireless communications devices, cell phones, and texting. Violations may result in substantial DOT fines. Further, if a motor carrier does not carefully enforce DOT regulations, and one of its drivers causes an accident while using a wireless device, the legal exposure could be substantial.
If your company needs help developing a DOT commercial driver safety policy, contact one of the transportation law attorneys of Trepanier MacGillis Battina P.A.
About the Author:
Minneapolis transportation lawyer Bryan R. Battina advises clients, drafts contracts, and litigates disputes in the transportation industry for motor carriers and household goods moving companies. Bryan may be reached at 612.455.0505 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Trepanier MacGillis Battina P.A. is a Minneapolis transportation law firm located in Minneapolis, Minnesota.