April 21, 2016 by Minuteman Trucks
Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) drivers are prohibited from texting or using hand-held mobile phones while operating their vehicles. Violations can result in fines and/or disqualifications and will impact a motor carrier’s and/or driver’s Safety Management System (SMS) results. Texting means manually entering alphanumeric text into, or reading text from, an electronic device. The rules also restrict a CMV driver from reaching for or holding a mobile phone to conduct a voice communication, as well as dialing by pressing more than a single button. CMV drivers who use a mobile phone while driving can only operate a hands-free phone located in close proximity. In short, the rule prohibits unsafely reaching for a device, holding a mobile phone, or pressing multiple buttons.
The rules impose sanctions for driver offenses, including civil penalties up to $2,750 and disqualification for multiple offenses. Motor carriers are also prohibited from requiring or allowing their drivers to text or use a hand-held mobile phone while driving and may be subject to civil penalties up to $11,000. Violations will impact SMS results.
Tips for Controlling Distracted Driving:
- Out of sight, out of mind. Putting your phone on silent and storing it somewhere that is not visible, but easily accessible, is the best way to avoid temptation. Everyone knows the feeling of seeing a notification and wanting to immediately respond because we all live busy lives, but in order to stay safe and keep other motorists safe, it’s best to keep your phone out of sight. Did you know your brain can miss seeing up to 50% of your driving environment when you talk on a cell phone? And, according to research, drivers talking on cell phones had slower reaction times than drivers with a .08 blood alcohol content.
- Never text and drive. There’s very few driving habits that are worse than texting and driving. Taking your eyes off the road to send a one-word text takes at least 5 seconds. If you’re going 60 mph on the highway, your vehicle travels more than the length of a football field in five seconds. Do not take those five seconds for granted because a lot can happen in that short amount of time – debris can fly into your lane, an animal can run in front of your car, or another driver might change lanes and hit the brakes.
- Be prepared to drive before getting behind the wheel. Eat your granola bar at home. Save the newspaper for when you get to work. Make sure you’re fully awake by getting the proper amount of sleep the night before. There are many ways in which we can get sidetracked throughout the day and there are certainly times when we have to multitask. Driving is not one of those times.
- Properly secure every item in your vehicle. You don’t want something to fall to the floor and spill while you’re traveling at 60 miles per hour down the highway. Try to suitably secure all items and definitely do not place anything on your lap or near the driver’s side floor. Items can slide under your brake pedal and prevent you from stopping if incorrectly secured.
- Set a good example for young drivers and speak up when uncomfortable. Young drivers who have grown up in the age of tremendous technological advancement may not know the risks involved in distracted driving. Talk to them about why it’s important to focus and why sharing the road with other drivers is a big responsibility. Also, if you’re a passenger in a vehicle and an electronic device distracts the driver, say something or offer to type the text and send it yourself. Safety is much more important than avoiding a few minutes of awkward conversation.
This safety bulletin is brought to you by Idealease.