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Mobile Phone Usage Rules For Truck Drivers

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Using of all kinds of hand-held mobile devices by commercial vehicle drivers is now restricted by FMSCA. The rule doesn’t allow a commercial vehicle driver to hold a cellphone to make a call or to press more than one button to dial. Only hand-free mobile devices are allowed to be used while located in close proximity.


FMSCA study demonstrates that commercial vehicle drivers dialing a cellphone or holding it while speaking have a 6 times bigger risk to get into an accident or another even threatening safety, such as near crash or lane deviation. When a driver dials a number, he takes off his eyes of the road for about 3.8 seconds. If the speed is 55 mph, it is 306 feet of roadway which is a length of a football field.


Using a hand-held mobile device includes using at least one hand to hold a phone, pressing more than one button to dial, reaching for a phone that requires changing a position from a seated driving position, seat belt on.


Penalties for using a mobile device can go up to $2,750 for a driver and up to $11,000 for a company that allows its drivers to use hand-held mobile devices or requires it. If there are multiple violations regarding this rule, it can lead to a disqualification by FMSCA as is it a major traffic violation. It also affects Safety Measurement System results.


Using a hand-held phone while driving is dangerous because dialing and reaching out for a device takes eyes off the road. The rule applies to the drivers operating a commercial vehicle, including temporary stationary during traffic or other delays. A driver can use a mounted phone if it mounted in close proximity.


The rule allows using a speaker phone function or an earpiece, voice activated dialing. A driver can also use the hands-free feature with his mobile phone located closely so he could dial and answer the phone pressing a single button.

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Brad Stracener

    Compared to dozens of other nations, it took the U.S. a while to invoke a hands-free rule regarding mobile devices, but the rule instated a few years ago here should reduce the many risks faced when driving on the road for prolonged periods, most notably among commercial drivers in the case of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration edict.

  2. Arthur Riter

    Absolutely, Brad! Time and time again, it has been shown (often tragically) that ANY kind of hand-held device risks lives. It is dangerous enough when driving a car, but it is even more important that commercial drivers always prioritize safety.

  3. Chris Lowry

    I think this is a great rule to have in place. When you see stories about distracted driving from cell phone use, it’s usually a car plowed into the back of a rig. I can’t imagine the damage a tractor trailer would do in the short amount of time a driver looks away from the road, especially as I see cars weave and jump in front of them. This rule prioritizes safety and the capability of smartphones to do voice activated activities will hopefully minimize opportunities for dangerous scenarios.

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