What are the rules for texting and driving for truck drivers?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety administration have gotten together and have written rules that specifically prohibit truckers and bus drivers, especially those who transport hazardous materials, from texting or even using any hand-held cellphones when driving their vehicles.

The U.S. Department of Transportation is on-board with these rules that may help put an end to distracted driving. If a truck driver is caught violating these rules, he or she could face fines and a loss of driving privileges. It will affect the motor carriers Safety Measurement System. This is important to the company because they have to maintain a certain rating to continue operating.

Commercial motor vehicle drivers can no longer text while they are driving. What is texting defined as? Simply put, it is manually putting in alphanumeric text into a cellphone or reading a text that was sent to your cellphone. Emailing, short message service, instant messaging or looking at the internet while driving is strictly prohibited. Also, if you have to push more than one button to initiate or terminate a call from your cellphone, you cannot use your phone.

The ruling also makes it off limits for a commercial driver to talk or hold a mobile cellphone while talking or making a call. Drivers can't drive and dial at the same time. In other words, pressing more than one button to answer a call, reaching for a device or holding a cellphone is prohibited by law now.

Getting into a truck accident because the driver of the truck was texting or talking on a cellphone is just wrong. Knowing the law can empower you. Doing your research may lead you to take action, such as seeking compensation for medical expenses, lost wages and more.

Source: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, "Distracted Driving," accessed Sep. 01, 2015

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