Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Department of Transport has proposed a new safety regulation that would specifically prohibit interstate truck and bus drivers from using hand-held cell phones while operating a commercial motor vehicle.
“Every time a commercial truck or bus driver takes his or her eyes off the road to use a cell phone, even for a few seconds, the driver places everyone around them at risk,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “This proposed rule will go a long way toward keeping a driver’s full attention focused on the road.”
The proposed rule would prohibit commercial drivers from reaching for, holding or dialling a cell phone while operating a commercial motor vehicle. Drivers who violate the restriction would face federal civil penalties of up to US$2,750 for each offense and disqualification of their commercial driver’s license for multiple offenses. Additionally, states would suspend the driver’s commercial license after two or more violations of any state law on hand-held cell phone use. Motor carriers that allow their drivers to use hand-held cell phones while driving would face a maximum penalty of $11,000.
Approximately four million interstate commercial drivers would be affected by the proposed rule.