Cell Phone Restrictions In CMV’s

Written by Cyndi Fjelstad

Drivers need to remain focused and be aware of their surroundings, pedestrians, and other drivers. Using a cell phone while driving leads to unsafe actions such as:

  • Following the vehicle in front of you too closely
  • Maintaining an improper lane position
  • Failing to recognize traffic signals or signs
  • Reacting slowly to traffic situations

Research commissioned by the FMCSA shows that the odds of being involved in a safety-critical event are six times greater for CMV drivers who engage in dialing a mobile phone while driving than those who do not. Dialing drivers take their eyes off the forward roadway for an average of 3.8 seconds. At 55MPH this equates to a driver traveling 306 feet (the approximate length of a football field) without looking at the roadway. The use of a hand-held mobile phone means:

  • Using at least one hand to hold a mobile phone to make a call
  • Dialing a mobile phone by pressing more than a single button
  • Reaching for a mobile phone in a manner that requires a driver to maneuver so that he/she is no longer in a seated driving position, restrained by a seat belt

Not using a cell phone in any way is the key to keeping drivers safe. If you must use a cell phone, follow these safety tips to minimize the chances of injury (or worse):

  • Pull your vehicle off the road during the cell phone use
  • Use hands-free devices
  • Keep conversations short
  • Avoid using a cell phone during heavy traffic situations
  • Keep extra distance between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you

Using a hand-held mobile phone while operating a CMV can result in driver disqualification. Penalties can be up to $2,750 for drivers and up to $10,000 for employers who allow or require drivers to use a hand-held communications device while driving.┬áMultiple violations of the prohibition of using a hand-held mobile phone while driving a CMV can result in a driver’s disqualification by FMCSA. Multiple violations of State laws prohibiting the use of a mobile phone while driving a CMV is a serious traffic violation that could result in a disqualification by a State of drivers required to have a CDL. Violations negatively impact CSA scores and they carry the maximum severity weight.