Just as most communities are enacting laws preventing people from texting while driving and otherwise using their phones while behind the wheel, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, or FMSCA, has rules that commercial drivers must follow. When you become a truck driver, understanding these rules is essential both for safety reasons and to prevent you from getting a costly fine. Most drivers have questions about the FMSCA’s cellphone rules. Here are the answers you need to know.
Are drivers allowed to use cellphones?
Drivers are never allowed to text under any circumstances. They are not allowed to hold their phones in their hands to talk or to dial numbers. They are allowed to use speakerphone with an earpiece and a phone fixed to the dash. It should be voice operated, or it should dial numbers and perform other operations by only pressing one number. Drivers cannot use a phone that they have to reach for, and their phone must be able to be used while they are wearing their seatbelts.
What happens if drivers are caught texting?
Truck drivers who are caught texting while behind the wheel can face civil penalties of up to $2,750. Drivers may also lose their licenses of they have multiple offenses. The carriers employing drivers who are caught texting may also be fined up to $11,000. Safety Measure System ratings, or SMS ratings, will also be reduced. Being caught texting while driving carries the maximum SMS penalty. These penalties also apply to drivers who are caught talking with phone in their hands.
Why are the rules so strict?
Phone use is part of the job as a trucker, as you communicate with customers and dispatch, but doing so behind the wheel is just too dangerous. According to research, truck drivers who text and drive are 23.3 times more likely to be in an accident, and drivers who use a hand-held phone are six times more likely to have a safety event.
Safe operation is one of the things you will learn in the classroom at Phoenix Truck Driving Institute. Let us help you get ready to succeed as a truck driver and call our CDL school in Phoenix today at (877) 295-5372.