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Distracted Driving Causing 9 Deaths and 1,000 Injuries A Day
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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), every day in the U.S. 9 people die and over 1,000 people are injured in accidents involving distracted drivers. While distracted driving is dangerous for any driver, the consequences for commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers are amplified due to increased vehicle weights, load dynamics and stopping distances required.

 

The causes of distracted driving include the use of electronic devices or other in-vehicle distractions, aggressive behavior towards others on the road and impairment due to fatigue or intoxication. Distracted driving is dangerous and preventable behavior for commercial drivers. Commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers must remain mindful of the greater risk they pose to themselves, passengers and other motorist or pedestrians.

 

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has published rules that prohibit commercial truck drivers from texting or using hand-held mobile phones while driving. Research shows that the risk of CMV drivers being in a safety-critical incident is 6 times greater if a mobile phone was being used. The study found that a driver that was dialing took their eyes off the road for an average of 3.8 seconds; at 55 mph that equates to 306 feet during which time the driver did not have their eyes on the road. Here’s what commercial drivers need to know about the FMCSA Mobile Phone Restriction Rule:

 

1. The use of a hand-held mobile device is prohibited. This means that a driver cannot use a hand to hold the device, dial a device by pressing more than a single button, or reach for a mobile device if it means the driver is no longer seated.

2. Using a mobile device while driving can result in a driver being disqualified. In addition to disqualification, the driver can be fined for up to $2,750 and up to $11,000 for employers who allow or require a driver to use a hand-held device while driving.

3. Multiple violations are serious and can result in disqualification by the FMCSA and the State in which you are licensed.

4. The rule applies to drivers who are operating on a roadway in any capacity, even if the vehicle is stopped due to traffic congestion, emergencies or other delays.

5. A device that is mounted to the vehicle is acceptable, as long as it is within the driver’s reach while properly restrained in the vehicle.

6. It is acceptable to use an earpiece or the speaker phone function.

7. Voice-activated dialing is acceptable.

8. It is acceptable to use a hand-held device as long as it is mounted in a location where it only requires one button touch to initiate, answer or terminate a call.

9. Drivers are not in compliance of this rule if they have to remove their safety restraint to reach for the device, even if hands-free function is being used.

 

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