April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month

The month of April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month and it is the perfect time for truck drivers to review the rules and regulations being enforced by the FMCSA.  According to research, your response time is slower when talking on a cell phone than if you were a truck driver with a .08 blood alcohol content.

Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) drivers are prohibited from texting or using hand-held mobile phones while operating their vehicles. Violations can result in fines and/or disqualifications and will impact a motor carrier’s and/or driver’s Safety Management System (SMS) results. Texting means manually entering alphanumeric text into, or reading text from, an electronic device. The rules also restrict a CMV driver from reaching for or holding a mobile phone to conduct a voice communication, as well as dialing by pressing more than a single button. CMV drivers who use a mobile phone while driving can only operate a hands-free phone located in close proximity.

The rules impose sanctions for driver offenses, including civil penalties up to $2,750 and disqualification for multiple offenses. Motor carriers are also prohibited from requiring or allowing their drivers to text or use a hand-held mobile phone while driving and may be subject to civil penalties up to $11,000. Violations will impact SMS results.

Simply put:

  • No REACHING
  • No HOLDING
  • No DIALING
  • No TEXTING
  • No READING

Implement a clear policy indicating that the employer does not require employees to answer calls while they are on the road. This includes the employer placing calls to employees while they are driving.  Encourage your employees to plan their trips to include stops so they can safely return calls and emails.