The U.S. Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration in conjunction with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) released a statement regarding new restrictions on the use of cellular phones by drivers of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs). The authority for this rule derives from the Motor Carrier Safety Act of 1984 (1984 Act), 49 U.S.C chapter 311, and the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1986 (1986 Act), 49 U.S.C. chapter 313. The 1984 Act provides authority to regulate the safety operations of CMV drivers, motor carriers, and vehicle equipment.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) and the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) have been amended to restrict the use of hand-held mobile telephones by drivers of CMVs effective January 3, 2012. These changes were made in an effort to improve safety on the Nation’s highways by reducing the prevalence of driving-related crashes, fatalities, and injuries involving drivers of CMVs.
New sanctions include (1) new driver disqualification sanctions for drivers of CMVs who fail to comply with this Federal restriction; and (2) new driver disqualification sanctions for commercial driver’s license (CDL) holders who have multiple state convictions for violating a State or local law or ordinance concerning hand held mobile telephones.