Our latest DOT Compliance Updates. We will update this section regularly so please check back often.
Cell Phone Ban for CDL Drivers Effective Immediately:
Beginning January 3, 2012, drivers of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) will not be able to hold, dial, or reach for a hand-held cell phone, including those with push-to-talk capabilities, while driving. This includes when the driver is temporarily stopped in traffic or at a red light. Drivers are not allowed to drive and hold a cell phone, or squeeze the cell phone with their shoulder and ear while driving anywhere on the highways. Once the driver has moved the vehicle to the side of, or off, a highway and has sufficiently parked in a safe location, the use of a hand-held cell phone is allowed.
Section 392.82, describing this ban on cell phones while driving, clearly states that motor carriers cannot allow or require drivers to use a hand-held mobile device while driving a CMV. Companies who allow their drivers to use hand-held cell phones while driving will face a maximum penalty of $11,000.00. Drivers who violate this rule will face federal fines of up to $2,750.00 for each offense and will face disqualification of their driving privileges for multiple offenses.
What is allowable is a mobile cell phone with hands-free capabilities and dialing or answering the mobile phone by pushing one single button. The FMCSA feels that this type of activity keeps both hands of the driver free and their attention fixed on the road ahead. Also, the one button activation of the hands-free cell phone only requires minimal distraction much the same as a driver would change the station on the radio, or adjust the heat in the cabin.
The only exception to this new rule is the emergency exception. Using a hand-held mobile telephone is permissible by drivers of a CMV when necessary to communicate with law enforcement officials or other emergency services. Drivers will be allowed to use CB radios and two-way radios while driving.
The new regulation banning cell phone use also applies to intrastate drivers transporting hazardous materials requiring placarding.
Changes to Hours of Service: The basic limits, including 11 hours of driving time, the 14-hour duty window, and 60/70 hour limits for drivers of property-carrying commercial motor vehicles, remain intact under the latest version of the hours-of-service regulations.
Published in the December 27, 2011, Federal Register, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's (FMCSA) final rule includes limitations on the 34-hour restart, a mandatory break, and changes to the definition of on-duty time. For a driver who uses the 34-hour restart provision, two periods of time between 1:00 am and 5:00 am must be included in the 34 consecutive hours off duty. Also the driver may only use the restart once within a period of 168 consecutive hours. According to FMCSA, this change would limit a driver to (on average) no more than 70 hours in a work week. Also included in the final rule is a provision that requires a driver to take a break of at least 30 minutes once he/she has been on duty for a maximum of 8 hours. The driver may take this break prior to the eighth hour, and meal breaks or any other off-duty time qualifies as a break. The definition of on-duty time for drivers of both property-carrying and passenger-carrying commercial motor vehicles has been amended to no longer include time resting in a parked commercial motor vehicle. Also, for drivers of property-carrying commercial motor vehicles who operate in a team driving situation, the 2 hours spent riding in the passenger seat of a moving commercial motor vehicle before or after a sleeper berth period of 8 hours may count this time as off-duty time.
The compliance date for the amended definition of on-duty time is February 27, 2012. The compliance date for the changes to the 34-hour restart and the mandatory break provision is July 1, 2013.