FAQ on Commercial Cellular Use Restrictions For Commercial Drivers

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association (FMCSA) has established new rules prohibiting the use of handheld mobile phones while operating commercial motor vehicles. Here’s what you need to know about these new rules and what they mean for CMVs.

Can you send or receive text messages while driving?

Sending or receiving text messages while driving is only allowable with voice activated technology. Drivers are not allowed to engage in any activity that requires holding mobile phones in their hands or taking their eyes off the road, even for two seconds.

Can you make calls while operating a CMV?

The short answer is no. This is only allowable if you can do so via voice command or by pressing a single button. Since most people must pull up numbers, dial numbers, etc. to make calls, this is not permissible under these new rules.

How can drivers engage in essential communications while driving?

It is possible to communicate in a variety of ways:

  • Initiate and terminate calls with one-button touch features.
  • Utilize speaker phone functions to communicate.
  • Keep phones in locations where they can be operated by drivers while properly restrained by their safety belts.
  • Make the switch to push to talk two-way radios.

Drivers who follow these guidelines reduce their risks of fines and penalties levied against drivers who violate the new rules and the risks of accidents and injuries are greatly reduced in the process. It’s a win for everyone.

What are the penalties for violations?

In an effort to promote compliance, the penalties for non-compliance are stiff. Drivers face fines of up to $2,750 and multiple offenses can result in driver disqualification. Carriers who allow drivers to use mobile phones while driving face even harsher penalties – up to $11,000.

Why did the FMCSA create these new rules?

The FMCSA is dedicated to making roads safer for all drivers, including truck drivers. Research has shown that drivers who text while driving experience 23.2 times greater risks of becoming involved in safety-critical events than those who do not text while driving. Because many CMVs are so large in size they pose greater risks to themselves and others when accidents and crashes occur.

Peak PTT can help you comply with DOT requirements without leaving your drivers on the road with no ability to communicate. Contact us today to learn more about our DOT compliant options for motor carriers and drivers and how we can help you avoid stiff fines and penalties associated with non-compliant drivers.