Beginning January 3, 2012, a new rule governing commercial vehicles forbids the use of hand-held cell phones while driving. The summary of the new rule states the obvious:
This rulemaking will improve safety on the Nation's highways by reducing the prevalence of distracted driving related crashes, fatalities, and injuries involving drivers of CMVs.
The final rule forbids commercial drivers from using a hand-held mobile telephone while operating a commercial truck or bus. Drivers who violate the restriction will face:
- Civil penalties of up to $2,750 for each offense
- Disqualification from operating a commercial motor vehicle for multiple offenses
- States will suspend a driver's commercial driver's license (CDL) after two or more serious traffic violations
- Trucking and busing companies that allow their drivers to use hand-held cell phones while driving can face a maximum penalty of $11,000
It is believed that about 4 million drivers will be impacted by this rule. The FMCSA studies have found that hand-held cell phone while driving requires a commercial driver to take several risky steps which are not required when using hands-free technology. The increased risk appears to come from reaching for an object like a cell phone and looking down to dial the phone.
As a Northwest Indiana personal injury lawyer, I typically see that driver distraction plays a role in most motor vehicle crashes. It is very difficult to legislate human behavior so I don't know that this new regulation will have a bearing on truck and bus crashes only time will tell.
If you have any questions about a serious motor vehicle injury claim in Northwest Indiana, you can always call our Michigan City personal injury lawyers at (219) 874-4878.