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Half a million injuries and nearly 5500 deaths were attributed to accidents involving distracted driving in 2009.

In a giant step toward safety, a final rule was announced restricting the use of hand-held cell phones by drivers of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs). The rule – which can affect as many as four million commercial drivers – is the latest effort by the DOT to put an end to distracted driving.

A serious problem described in simple terms: “Distracted driving refers to any non-driving activity a person engages in that has the potential to distract him/her from paying attention to the road." It includes things such as using a cell phone to talk or text, to using a navigation system and more.

"I hope this rule will save lives by helping commercial drivers stay laser-focused on safety at all times while behind the wheel," said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

Final Rule Overview

The final rule bars commercial drivers from using hand-held devices while operating a commercial truck or bus.

Each offense can cost the violator up to $2,750; while multiple offenses can result in disqualification from operating a commercial vehicle.

After two or more serious violations, states can move to suspend the CDL license of the driver.

A hefty penalty up to $11,000 can be charged to companies that permit drivers to use hand-held phones while behind the wheel.

The final hand-held cell phone ban rule can be read here.

Research conducted by FMCSA shows that the use of a hand-held cell phone while operating a commercial vehicle involves several risky actions on behalf of the driver. In fact, a commercial driver reaching for a cell phone, or other item, is three times as likely to be involved in a crash; it is six times more likely for a commercial driver to be involved in an accident while dialing a cell phone.

FMCSA issued a ban on text messaging while operating a commercial truck or bus in September 2010.


  1. Gravatar for Clint

    I have a CDL and if they want to ban my hand held cell phone that is fine but they need to ban all cell phones for everyone driving not just CDL because for every 10 accidents you see involving a commercial vehicle 9 of them were caused by a small vehicle

  2. Gravatar for Tailgunner

    the company i worked for has taken the ban two extra steps no hands free or cell phones period.

    and each truck has a camera that looks out windshield, as well as driver.records speed, and gps. also backs up say 20 seconds when activated.

    there stand if you wish not to comply you need to go elsewhere i figure cb radio's are next.i am going to cell provider and reducing my plan, figure i can save $50 a month on cell phone use.

    $600 savings a year buys lots of lottery tickets

    wishing & hoping...

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