The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) keeps close tabs on driving behavior that could lead to potential truck-related crashes.
One issue is distracted driving, and the FMCSA put regulations in place that limit distractions in an effort to make truckers and the motorists around them safer on the road.
A 2009 study showed that texting while driving increases the chance of involvement in a safety-critical event by 23 times. The same study found that a driver spent almost five seconds looking at a hand-held phone just before a crash. The FMCSA used the results of this study in developing a regulation that prohibits truck drivers from texting while behind the wheel.
Handheld phone issues
A 2010 study found that dialing a handheld phone while driving increases the possibility of a crash by three times. It is illegal for commercial truck drivers to use handheld cell phones while driving. To use this kind of device, a driver must take his or her eyes off the road and one hand off the wheel. The FMCSA recommends that drivers pull over and stop if it is necessary to make a call or to use a hands-free, voice-activated phone.
The mobile device rule
The FMCSA defines use of a mobile device as:
- Using at least one hand to make a call with a mobile device
- Dialing by pressing more than one button on the device
- Reaching for a mobile device that requires a driver to maneuver so that he or she is no longer in a seated position with the seat belt engaged
Safety for truckers and motorists is a major goal of the FMCSA. Any truck driver caught texting or using a hand-held phone faces fines or disqualification.