New Rule Bans Commercial Drivers’ Use of Cell Phones


More than 5,000 people were killed and nearly 500,000 people were injured in motor vehicle accidents related to distracted driving in 2009, the last full year for which statistics are available, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

The use of cell phones or other hand-held devices while driving is dangerous in any vehicle, but those dangers are enhanced when the driver is operating a commercial bus or semi-truck. In an effort to curb distracted driving accidents associated with tractor-trailers and buses, the U.S. Department of Transportation recently announced a new rule prohibiting interstate truck and bus drivers from using cell phones while operating their vehicles.

Drivers who violate the rule can be fined up to $2,750 for each offense. Drivers with multiple violations can be disqualified from driving a commercial vehicle. Likewise, individual states can suspend a driver’s commercial driver’s license (CDL) if the driver receives two or more violations.

Although commercial drivers were previously banned from sending text messages while driving, the time required to reach for and/or dial a cell phone can also contribute to potentially fatal truck accidents. The new rule restricting cell phone use was the joint work of the FMCSA and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA).

If you were injured or a family member was killed in a truck accident, please contact us for a free case evaluation and to locate an experienced truck accident attorney near you.