Playing It Safe
In some form or another, distracted driving has always been a safety concern. However, the widespread increase in cellphone use over the past decade has put an increased focus on the hazard of distracted drivers. It is universally recognized that hand-held mobile device use, especially texting, while driving greatly increases the risk of an accident. In fact, texting while driving is so distracting studies have shown it to be as dangerous as drunk driving.
CDL holders have special responsibilities on the road
When you are distracted behind the wheel, you not only put yourself in danger but also endanger the lives of those sharing the road with you. As a CDL holder you have certain responsibilities that regular license holders do not have. While any distraction behind the wheel is a potential hazard, some distractions may even be illegal.
In an effort to reduce accidents caused by distracted driving, the Department of Transportation (DOT) has banned the use of all hand-held mobile phones by interstate commercial drivers. This means that you cannot place calls, receive calls or text while driving.
To use hand-held mobile devices, you need to pull over to the side of the road. Once parked in an area where your vehicle can safely remain stationary, you may use hand-held devices.
Drivers may continue to use hands-free devices, but only if they do not cause a distraction. Points to remember:
- It is illegal to dial calls, provided dialing requires the driver to push more than one button.
- In order to answer the call, the cellphone must be within a driver’s reach, easily accessible.
- Citizens’ Band (CB) radios, two-way radios and walkie-talkies are permitted.
- Drivers are allowed to use a hand-held mobile device in cases of emergency, so long as they are notifying law enforcement or other emergency services.
- Certain states do have outright bans on the use of cellphones; be aware of the laws in your area of operations.
Your company should strive to align itself with any and all government regulation that affects your operations. In an effort to maintain a safe and healthy work environment for all, all employees would be expected to follow all DOT rules on cell phone use while driving.
This article is for informationation purposes only and is not intended as medical or legal advice.
(c) 2012 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.