On Friday, the US Department of Transportation proposed a new safety regulation that would ban hand-held cell phone use for commercial truck and bus drivers.
If the rule goes into effect (after a 60-day comment period), drivers in violation could be fined up to $2,750 and repeat offenders could lose their commercial driver’s license. Companies that allow drivers to use cell phones while driving could face a maximum fine of $11,000.
The US DOT and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration say the new regulation is needed because distracted drivers were involved in nearly 5,500 fatal and 500,000 injury crashes in 2009.
In a statement about the proposed regulation, US DOT Secretary Ray LaHood said,
“Every time a commercial truck or bus driver takes his or her eyes off the road to use a cell phone, even for a few seconds, the driver places everyone around them at risk. This proposed rule will go a long way toward keeping a driver’s full attention focused on the road.”
In Oregon, our cell phone law prohibits the use of “two-way mobile communication devices.” Unfortunately, the law has some gaping exceptions, which include using a cell phone, “in the scope of the person’s employment if operation of the motor vehicle is necessary for the person’s job.”
A 60-day comment period is now open on the proposed rule change. Visit the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration website for more information and to learn how to make your comment.