In short, it depends on which cell phones we’re talking about. The U.S. Department of Transportation banned truckers from using hand-held devices back in 2011. However, hands-free cell phones are still permitted while driving. Additionally, truck drivers can use handheld cellphones only if they pull over before beginning a conversation.
Penalties for Using Handheld Cell Phones
Furthermore, truck drivers who are caught using handheld cell phones while driving will endure severe penalties from the federal government. These consequences include:
- A maximum civil penalty of $2,750 for each violation.
- Debarment from driving a commercial motor vehicle after numerous offenses.
- For bus and trucking companies that allow drivers to use hand-held cell phones, a maximum fine of $11,000 will be assessed.
Using a Hands-Free Device Safely
Moreover, truckers who use hands-free devices must still practice safety while doing so. Despite not using your hands, hands-free devices can still be distracting. Therefore, truckers should follow proper safety measures while doing so. For example:
- Proper phone placement is key. The cellphone shouldn’t be mounted in a place where the driver must stretch to use it.
- Additionally, an earpiece or the speakerphone function should be used when receiving calls.
- In order to reduce the time truckers take their eyes off the road, a one-button touch feature or voice activation should be utilized.
However, it is best to consult with your employer before mounting a hands-free device in your truck. Still, keep in mind that the amount of talking time while driving should also be limited. Only necessary calls should be taken.
Sans the Text Messaging, Too
In addition to talking on the phone, texting is also a distraction for drivers. Research states that texting while driving increases the risk of accidents by 23 times. As a result, the FMCSA banned text messaging for truck and bus drivers in 2010 as well.
In brief, road safety affects everyone. So, if you see something, say something!