As of January 3, 2012, the use of handheld cellular phones by most commercial vehicle operators is illegal under federal law. The ban applies to interstate carriers including large trucks and busses. See the links at the bottom of the page for more information from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
The law provides for a maximum driver penalty of $2750, and an $11,000 fine for a carrier that allows the use of handheld cell phones by drivers.
Although the law does not apply to all Commercial Driver’s License holders and still allows the use of hands free devices, the message is clear. Driving while using a cell phone creates a serious safety hazard and the federal government has responded very aggressively to mitigate this issue.
Employers, who operate a fleet of commercial vehicles, must take the time to review their fleet plan for compliance with the new FMCSA regulations and ensure that drivers are not distracted by the use of cell phones.
"This final rule represents a giant leap for safety," said FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro. "It's just too dangerous for drivers to use a hand-held cell phone while operating a commercial vehicle. Drivers must keep their eyes on the road, hands on the wheel and head in the game when operating on our roads. Lives are at stake."