Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Hand-Held Cell Phone Ban for Drivers Of Buses And Large Trucks

In an earlier Memo in December we sent out the US DOT Final Rule that bans hand-held cell phone use by Commercial Motor Vehicle Drivers. We feel it might be helpful to clarify that the FMCSA has commentary that provides both rationale for and limitation of this exception. The rule will become effective January 3, 2012 for the use of hand-held telephones in commercial motor vehicles engaged in interstate commerce:

Some commenters thought that the NPRM prohibited CMV drivers from making emergency calls. Commenters believed that calls could not be made to law enforcement to report vehicle accidents, drunk drivers, or other roadside emergencies.

UMA noted that its members have largely responded to its advisory on the inherent risks of using cellular phones, and have developed and enforced FMCSA Response.

The Agency agrees with the UMA and the many towing companies whose cell-phone policies continue to allow the use of mobile telephones to contact law enforcement in cases of emergency and for security purposes.

The Agency, however did not propose to prohibit CMV drivers from placing emergency calls. In the NPRM, the Agency said “Emergencies.” Using a hand-held mobile telephone is permissible by drivers of a CMV when necessary to communicate with law enforcement officials or other emergency services”

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