Distracted driving has always been a safety concern in some form or another. However, the widespread increase in cellphone use over the past decade has put an increased focus on the hazard of distracted drivers. It is universally recognized that using hand-held mobile devices while driving greatly increases the risk of an accident. In fact, studies have shown that texting while driving is as dangerous as drunk driving.
When you are distracted behind the wheel, you not only put yourself in danger but also endanger the lives of those sharing the road with you. As a commercial driver’s license (CDL) holder, you have certain responsibilities that regular license holders do not have. While any distraction behind the wheel is a potential hazard, some distractions are illegal.
Stop Distracted Driving
In an effort to reduce accidents caused by distracted driving, the Department of Transportation (DOT) has banned the use of all hand-held phones by interstate commercial drivers. This means that you cannot place calls, receive calls or text while driving. To use hand-held mobile devices, you need to pull over to the side of the road.
Drivers may continue to use hands-free devices, but only if they do not cause a distraction. Here are some points to remember:
- It is illegal to dial calls, provided dialing requires the driver to push more than one button.
- In order to answer a call, the cellphone must be within a driver’s reach and easily accessible.
- Citizens’ Band (CB) radios, two-way radios and walkie-talkies are permitted.
- Drivers are allowed to use a hand-held mobile device during emergencies, as long as they are notifying law enforcement or other emergency services.
- Certain states do have outright bans on the use of cellphones. Be aware of the laws in your area of operations.
Your trucking company should strive to align itself with any and all government regulation that affects the industry’s operations. In an effort to maintain a safe and healthy work environment for all, you are expected to follow all DOT rules on cellphone use while driving.