Director of Risk Control
On my first official business trip after joining The Gibraltar Group I found it odd that our CEO, Brandt Beal, wasn’t allowed to drive and in fact didn’t even resist when the car keys were taken from his hands. It was obvious that this was a customary procedure. Not long after that, Brandt and I were on a trip together and after a few minutes with him behind the wheel, I realized then the reason he wasn’t allowed to drive. Brandt, the ultimate multi tasker, attempted to carry on a conversation with me, a conversation via text, return emails, manipulate the radio, retrieve files on his iPad and drive all at the same time. I am confident that there are many truck drivers that have become just as proficient at multitasking while behind the wheel.
In order to prevent auto accidents that often have catastrophic results, professional drivers must be alert and pay close attention to the ever changing landscape. Research from the Department of Transportation shows that using a hand-held cell phone while driving requires a commercial driver to take several risky steps beyond what is required for using a hands-free mobile phone. Drivers reaching for an object, such as a cell phone, are three times more likely to be involved in a crash or other safety-critical event. Dialing a hand-held cell phone makes it six times more likely that drivers will be involved in a crash or other safety-critical event.
On January 3rd, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) implemented regulations designed to reduce distracted driving among America’s commercial vehicle operators. Reducing driver distractions is an obvious priority of the Department of Transportation and should be a priority for your company as well. Remember that your professional drivers represent your company’s brand and balance sheet.
Drivers of CMVs: Restricting the Use of Cellular Phones
(49 CFR Parts 383, 384, 390, 391, and 392)
The new rule prohibits the use of hand-held mobile telephones by drivers of commercial motor vehicles. Drivers are banned from holding a mobile telephone to conduct a voice communication, from dialing a mobile telephone by pressing more than a single button, or reaching for a mobile phone in an unacceptable and unsafe manner. The ruling does specify that drivers can use a compliant mobile device as long as the fore mentioned restrictions are followed. This ban of cellular phone use will affect almost 8.5 million truck drivers and almost one million bus drivers across the nation.
Drivers of commercial motor vehicles who violate this rule are subject to a fine of $2,750 per incident and possible license disqualification for multiple offenses.
This new rule doesn’t just apply to drivers. A whopping $11,000 maximum fine is administered to motor carriers who “allow drivers to use hand-held cell phones while driving.”
- Speaker Phone With Voice Command
- Bluetooth Headset With Voice Command
The bottom line is that this seemingly simple rule is actually quite complex and like similar state laws is inherently difficult to enforce as drivers are not inclined to put their phones down just because they are told to. Let’s face it, people are addicted to their phone and even more addicted to smartphones. Without tools to actively enforce compliance with cell phone use regulations, the FMCSA and the entire trucking industry are likely tempering their expectations as to how many drivers will voluntarily comply. The consequences and penalties for non compliance are real and expensive as are the positive results that this rule will produce if professional drivers comply. Click below or contact us for a detailed driver policy and notifications about the new FMCSA cell phone ban ruling.
SAMPLE CELL PHONE USE POLICY