Spotlight on Federal Distracted Driving Regulations

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration have specific rules prohibiting interstate truckers and bus drivers from texting or using hand-held phones while driving. These joint rules are part of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s efforts to end distracted driving. As a result, violations of these rules can result in fines and driver disqualification.

Texting while driving

Commercial motor vehicle drivers aren’t allowed to text while driving their vehicles. This means, truckers are prohibited from manually entering alphanumeric text into or reading text from their electronic devices. This includes sending short messages, e-mailing, instant messaging, and accessing web pages. Drivers are also not allowed to press more than a single button to initiate or terminate a voice communication using their mobile phones.

Conducting voice communication

As a result of these regulations, CMV drivers may not reach for or hold a mobile phone to conduct a voice communication or dial by pressing more than a single button on their phones. Additionally, CMV drivers who use mobile phones while operating their vehicles may only operate a hands-free device located in close proximity. Combined, these rules mean a driver is prohibited from unsafely reaching for a device, holding a mobile phone, or pressing multiple buttons while behind the wheel.

Understanding the risks

Besides facing CDL disqualification, violating these rules may result in substantial penalties. Additionally, recent research illustrates that failure to abide by these rules increases a driver’s chances of suffering a safety-critical event, such as a crash, near crash, or unintentional lane deviation. According to the FMCSA, CMV drivers who dial a phone while driving increase their odds of being involved in an accident six times. Texting drivers take their eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds, which equates to traveling the length of a football field.

For more information about obtaining your CDL license in Tucson, contact HDS Truck Driving Institute. We offer nationally recognized truck driver training with available refresher courses and road testing. You can learn more by calling us at (877) 205-2141.

A Truck Driver’s Guide to Commercial Licensing

Since April 1, 1992, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has required drivers to have commercial driver’s licenses in order to operate a commercial motor vehicle. Consequently, the FMCSA has developed and issued standards that states must follow to issue CDLs to drivers. Restrictions are placed on CDLs when a driver’s vehicle lacks critical equipment on certain CMVs, so drivers need to take the Skills Test in the same type of vehicle for which they are seeking CDLs to operate.

Classes of licenses

According to Federal standards, States issue CDLs and CLPs to drivers according to three license classifications. Class A encompasses any combination of vehicles that have a gross combination weight rating of 11,794 kilograms or more. Any single vehicle that has a gross vehicle weight rating of 11,794 or more kilograms or any such vehicle towing a vehicle with a gross weight rating below 4,536 kilograms is Class B. A Class C vehicle is any single vehicle, or combination of vehicles, that does not qualify as a Class A or B, but is designed to transport 16 or more passengers.


Drivers who operate certain CMVs must pass other tests to obtain endorsements on their commercial driver’s licenses. For example, a double or triple trailer driver only needs to pass the knowledge test only to obtain an endorsement. For a passenger vehicle, the driver needs to pass the knowledge and skills tests. Additionally, a school bus driver needs to pass the knowledge and skills tests.


If a CDL driver fails to pass the Air Brakes Knowledge Test, doesn’t correctly identify the air brake system components, or does not properly conduct an air brake systems check, he or she will carry an “L” no full air brake restriction on the license.

Call (877) 205-2141 to learn more about obtaining a commercial driver’s license with HDS Truck Driving Institute. We have proudly served Southern Arizona since 1991. As a fully accredited educational institution, we have trained thousands of students to pass their CDL tests and to become the kind of professional drivers that companies want to hire.

A Look at Dry Van and Refrigerated Trucks

After obtaining your commercial driver’s license, the most important career decision you will make is how to surround yourself with the right people at work. You also need to understand the factors affecting the freight you receive, as well as the steps to take to put yourself in the best possible position to succeed. Factors to consider when choosing your freight type include your personality, lifestyle, and desire to be far from home for long periods of time.

Dry van carrier

The most common trailer on the roads is dry vans, which are big, empty boxes. As a result, they don’t require any temperature control mechanisms. As there are more dry van companies than any other type of company, you will discover the broadest range of opportunities in this trucking area. Additionally, there are a large variety of companies pulling these types of trailers, so they are difficult to define in a general way. As a result, there are a broad range of jobs and lifestyles within this trucking category.

Dry van jobs

Especially with bigger companies, dry van jobs tend to offer the greatest range of opportunities for truckers who prefer regional, dedicated, and local runs. In many of the larger companies, it’s easy for truckers to switch over into a regional job, which gets them home on the weekends, or possibly every night. While these jobs may require some manual labor, this usually depends on the individual companies themselves.

Refrigerated carriers

A refrigerated company can haul either temperature sensitive freight or drive freight. From time to time, the company will get some of each. Consequently, it’s good for a company to be capable of hauling both types of goods, as it gives the company more versatility with its freight.

HDS Truck Driving Institute trains truckers to become the kind of professional drivers that companies seek. Over the past 20 years, our graduates have secured jobs with many of the nation’s top over-the-road carriers, as well as regional and local companies. Call (877) 205-2141 to learn more about enrolling in truck driving school in Tucson.

What to Expect from Life on the Road

Graduating from truck-driving school helps you learn all of the skills that you need to know to safely operate a commercial truck. Once you obtain your CDL and get behind the wheel of a truck, you can start living your life on the road. Use this guide to learn more about what to expect from life as a driver:

Inspections Before You Drive

You should always walk around to inspect your truck before you get onto the road. Look at all of the tires, the mirrors, and the doors to make sure everything looks solid. You should also look at the area around the truck so you can see any potential hazards that might affect the way you back up or drive out of the parking lot. Even if you just stop at a truck stop for a quick meal, you should always do a quick walk around to make sure the truck looks good.

Long Hours on the Road

Whether you drive long haul shifts or local routes, you can expect to spend a lot of time behind the wheel. You might not make it home every night, but you will get the chance to see a lot of the country from wide-open highways. Make sure you take the time to rest to ensure that you are completely refreshed when you get back behind the wheel of your commercial truck.

Visits to Lots of Truck Stops

During the long stretches of driving, you will probably spend a lot of time at various truck stops around the country. Try to make an effort to eat healthy food options whenever you can to keep your mind and your body ready for your next session behind the wheel.

If you think the life of a trucker is appealing for you, sign up from the program at HDS Truck Driving Institute. Our Tucson program offers you the chance to learn the skills you need to earn your CDL and get on the road. For more information, visit us online or call (877) 205-2141.