Ruling bans hand-held cell phone use by
drivers of buses and large trucks
A recently adopted federal ruling affects a wide range of commercial drivers
and how they use hand-held cell phones while on the job.
Did you know?
The U.S. Department of Transportation enacted the final rule FMCSA-2010-0096 which prohibits interstate truck and bus drivers from using hand-held cell phones while operating their vehicles. This is a joint rule from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA). This rule went into effect January 3, 2012.
What does this mean to you?
Interstate truck drivers (this includes tow truck drivers) and bus drivers who are caught in violation of this rule will face up to a $2,750 fine for each offense and can also lose their commercial driverís license (CDL) for multiple offenses. Owners are no longer permitted to require or allow their drivers to use hand-held mobile phones. Owners who require or allow drivers to use their hand-held cell phones will face a maximum penalty of $11,000.
Why was this enacted?
Studies have shown the use of a hand-held cell phone is more distracting than eating or reaching to adjust an instrument. Distracted-related driving accidents have killed nearly 5,474 people and caused half a million injuries in 2009. This represents 16% of overall traffic fatalities in 2009. According to, the number of people killed in distraction-affected accidents in 2012 was 3,328.
What does this affect?
This rule affects tow truck drivers, tractor trailer drivers, bus drivers, and anyone who is a commercial driver and/or operates commercial vehicles, which totals roughly four million commercial drivers nationwide.
What do you need to do?
You should not use your hand-held cell phone while operating a commercial vehicle. Drivers can purchase a hands-free device for their cell phone or a mount for their cell phone as long as it is located where the driver is able to initiate, answer, or terminate a call by touching a single button while in the seated driving position and properly restrained by a seat belt.