Beginning today, both interstate truck and bus drivers are legally banned from using handheld cellular devices during motor vehicle operation. Our Chicago trucking accident lawyers read on TruckingInfo.com that this new rule, established by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, will ultimately affect over 4 million commercial vehicle drivers. Commercial vehicle drivers found in violation of this rule will face federal civil penalties of up to $2,750 for each violation. Drivers who commit multiple violations may additionally be subjected to commercial driver’s license disqualification. The new rule also penalizes trucking companies that allow their drivers to use hand-held cellular devices will driving with a stiff maximum penalty of $11,000.
This new cell phone ban for 2012 comes in light of numerous research studies showing the severe and life-threatening risks that are involved with using a handheld cell phone and operating an 80,000 pound vehicle. According to safety studies, large commercial vehicle drivers are three times more likely to be involved in a safety-critical event when reaching for an object (such as a cellular device). Additionally, dialing a cell phone increases the risk of a safety-critical event to six times. Our Chicago truck accident attorneys read that the Federal motor Carrier Safety Administration plans to work with law enforcement agencies across the country in order to develop procedures that ensure uniform application of the rule. Considering the success of last year’s truck driver texting ban, the agency has high hopes for the successful enforcement of this program.
Our Illinois truck accident lawyers continue to commend the efforts of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to help make our roadways a safer place to travel. When strict commercial vehicle regulations are enacted, it aids in preventing the thousands of semi truck accidents that occur each and every year. It is extremely important to not only have these rules and regulations in place, but to additionally rigorously enforce them. When commercial vehicle violations are properly identified, such as hand held cell phone use, it helps put the focus back on maintain the utmost commercial vehicle safety, in addition to, encouraging safe travel. Furthermore, by holding commercial vehicle drivers and their trucking companies to higher standards, it encourages safe driving habits every time a vehicle is operated.