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WASHINGTON DC – On Tuesday, December 21, 2010 the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration FMCSA called for a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) that would ban the use of hand-held mobile devices by commercial drivers of motor vehicles (CMVs).

Proposed ban on hand-held devices by commercial vehicle drivers

This recent NPRM goes against the advice of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) earlier this year.

The new proposal has not yet completely ruled out the use of hands-free devices but is asking the public for comments on whether or not the new rules should ban them along with hand-held devices.

The FMCSA’s reasoning for the new NPRM is expressed by the following quote from their proposal:

Using a hand-held mobile telephone may reduce a driver’s situational awareness, decision making, or performance; and it may result in a crash, near-crash, unintended lane departure by the driver, or other unsafe driving action.

Under the new NPRM drivers conducting interstate commerce would be forbidden to use any hand-held device such as a cell phone while operating a commercial vehicle.

In addition, the new proposal would:

  • Disqualify a trucker from driving a CMV if he or she is found guilty of a state or local traffic law or city ordinance prohibiting or restricting the use of a hand-held device while driving a commercial vehicle.
  • The disqualification would remain in effect for 60 days after a second conviction and for 120 days after three or more subsequent convictions within a three-year period.
  • It would add to its list of “serious” traffic offenses any state law, local law or ordinance that would prohibit or restrict the use of any hand-held or mobile device while driving.

Through this rulemaking process, the government is asking the public for comments and would consider new and innovative technology if it was safe to use by commercial vehicle drivers.

Published by Houston truck accident lawyer Gordon, Elias & Seely, LLP

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