The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) issued a final rule at the end of November regarding cell phone use and commercial vehicle drivers, which was decided jointly with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA). The FMCSA reports that U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced the DOT’s final rule to ban all hand-held cell phone use by interstate truck drivers and bus drivers while they are operating their vehicle.
This final rule is a measure to prevent distracted driving and the dangerous accidents that may come as a result. Dialing a cell phone while behind the wheel makes a commercial vehicle driver six times more likely to be involved in a crash, and reaching for an object (such as a cell phone) increases the chance of being involved in an accident by 3 times.
A commercial vehicle driver who is found to have violated this rule can face civil penalties of up to $2,750 for each offense, and disqualification from operating a commercial motor vehicle for multiple offenses. After two or more serious traffic violations, states may also suspend a driver’s commercial vehicle driver’s license. Commercial truck and bus companies who allow their driver to use their cell phones behind the wheel will face a maximum penalty of $11,000.
According to the FMCSA, an estimated 4 million commercial drivers will be affected by this DOT rule. A PHMSA administrator states this ruling will prevent “needless injuries and death” that occur because of distracted driving. Over 5,400 people tragically died in 2009 due to distracted driving accidents, and half a million were injured.
Being involved in an accident with a commercial vehicle can result in devastating personal injuries or death because of their large size. Specifically with commercial truck drivers, things such as inadequate training and demanding schedules can lead to life-threatening collisions. The semi truck accident lawyers in Omaha of Cullan & Cullan, LLC can help you obtain compensation for your injuries if you have been involved in an accident with a large truck. We are also physicians, which can give us a greater understanding of the injuries you have suffered as a result of a dangerous big rig accident. Please call (402) 397-7600 for a complimentary consultation.