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.