Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Commercial Driver Handheld Cell Phone Ban Now in Effect

Just a quick reminder to employers that have commercial motor vehicles:  as of January 3, 2012, your drivers are prohibited from using handheld cell phones while operating your vehicles.

You may recall that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration created a joint rule, which can be found here, in an effort to help curb distracted driving.  Drivers who violate the rule face federal penalties of up to $2,750 for each offense, and they could be disqualified entirely from operating a CMV if they commit multiple offenses.  Commercial truck and bus companies also risk penalties up to $11,000.

Companies should update their policies and employee handbooks to reflect this new rule, as well as the no-text-messaging ban that already was in effect.  Failure to adopt and enforce such policies could expose operators to civil liability well in excess of the penalties stated in the rule.

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