Attention Commercial Drivers: DOT Outlaws the Use of Hand-Held Cellular Phones

We all rely on our cell phones to help us remain connected, whether it’s to personally stay in contact with loved ones or as a mechanism for communication among workers. However, as a proactive attempt to improve the safety of our roads, companies will have to shy away from the urge to pick up their mobile device will operating on the road.

Effective January 3rd, 2010 the FMCSA and PHSMA are amending the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) and the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMRs) to restrict the use of hand-held mobile phones by all drivers of commercial motor vehicles (CMRs).
The hope is that this new regulation will greatly decrease the prevalence of distracted-driving related crashes, fatalities and injuries involving commercial truckers. Additionally, new disqualification sanctions will be introduced for drivers of commercial motor vehicles who fail to comply with the revised Federal restrictions. Furthermore, those with their commercial drivers license (CDL), who also have multiple state or local convictions – regarding the ordinance restricting cell phone use – will also find themselves facing new disqualification sanctions.

The FMSCA encourages commercial drivers to participate in the rulemaking process by submitting comments, replies and related materials. You can visit to learn more about the discussion process and the proposed sanctions.

Overall, what does this mean for commercial motor vehicle operators throughout Massachusetts? Stay off your cell phone! No matter what, the DOT is cracking down on distracted driving and the ease of which drivers use cell phones as two-way radios to communicate amongst staff. Interested in learning more? Feel free to contact Wolpert Insurance to speak with agent today about your coverage options and how the new regulations may affect you. And remember, when operating a commercial motor vehicle, safety should always be the number one priority—here’s to a safer 2012.