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The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) in conjunction with the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has issued a final rule specifically prohibiting interstate truck and bus drivers from using hand-held cell phones while operating their vehicles.

The final rule prohibits commercial drivers from using a hand-held mobile telephone while operating a commercial truck or bus.

Drivers who violate the restriction will face federal civil penalties of up to $2,750 for each offense and disqualification from operating a commercial motor vehicle for multiple offenses. Individual states will also suspend a driver’s commercial driver’s license (CDL) after two or more serious traffic violations.

Nearly 5474 people died, and half a million were injured in accidents crashes involving a distracted driver in 2009.  Distraction-related fatalities represented 16% of overall traffic fatalities in 2009, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) research.

FMCSA Rule Mobile Phone Use Truck Drivers

Many motor carriers already have company policies in place banning their drivers from using hand-held phones, but, this new rule puts into law the prohibition.