Choosing to be a truck driver comes with a load of responsibilities — one of which is paying attention to rules and regulations that help to protect not just your life, but the lives of other drivers, passengers, and pedestrians who share the road with you. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has a number of rules and regulations that you should be aware of while on your shift.
FMCSA Laws & Regulations
What the FMCSA wants to avoid is distracted driving among truck drivers. Here are a few rules having to do with distracted driving.
- Texting and use of a hand held mobile phone while driving is prohibited. Use of a hands-free device is acceptable.
- Truck drivers who are caught texting or using a mobile device while driving may be fined, face disqualifications, or can be put out of service.
- Dispatch devices can be used provided they are not being used for texting.
Why are Rules Around Texting and Driving So Important?
You may be wondering how texting and driving as a truck driver can be dangerous for both you and others on the road. Research has shown that truck drivers who text while driving are 23 times more likely to experience a safety critical event than other drivers who do not. In addition, truck drivers who used mobile devices while driving were 6 times more likely to be involved in an incident that puts safety at risk. It is important to remember that many states do not have rules in place regarding safe driving for truck drivers. However, the FMCSA rules apply to all truck drivers wherever you may be driving.
Penalties for Distracted Driving
According to the FMCSA, distracted driving involves any activity involving the use of mobile devices. The organization prohibits reaching, holding, texting, reading, or dialing while operating a truck. If you are caught doing any of the above prohibited activities while driving, here are the consequences:
- Fines of up to $2750.
- Repeat offenders will be disqualified from driving, or put out of service for up to 120 days.
- The driver’s employer can be fined up to $11,000 if they knowingly require their drivers to utilize hand held mobile devices while driving.
- All violations will lower the employer’s Safety Measurement System (SMS) rating.
- Two serious traffic violations over a 3-year period will result in the driver being disqualified for up to 60 days. Three violations will put them out of service for up to 120 days and will be fined accordingly.
It is important to know these new rules regarding truck driver safety. While technology can be a wonderful tool to help us get the job done, it can also be a distraction that can put the lives of many at risk while on the road. If you are using a mobile device on the road, be sure to invest in a hands-free device that will allow you to use your voice while driving.