DOT Sets New Safety Rule for Drivers
The Department of Transportation has announced that January 3, 2012 will be the effective date for a new regulation, which bans the use of hand-held cell phone's for interstate commercial vehicle drivers. The ban only applies to intrastate drivers if they are carrying hazardous material, but states are likely to adopt the federal standard in the near future. Companies that allow their drivers to use cell phones face fines of up to $11,000 per incident.
Specifically, this rule prohibits drivers from using a hand-held cell phone while driving, reaching for a mobile phone in a distracted manner or dialing a number by pressing more than one number. The use of hands free phones, two-way radios and CB's will still be permitted.
The Department of Transportation finalized a rule which, while substantial, falls short of the drastic initial proposal, which would have greatly reduced trucking productivity. The DOT has issued these requirements:
- A 30-minute break by all drivers at least once during an eight hour shift.(Takes effect July 1, 2013)
- The 34-hour restart period must include at least two 1am-5am periods. (Takes effect July 1, 2013)
- A 34-hour restart period may only be used once per week. (Takes effect July 1, 2013)
- The definition of "on-duty" time is changed to exclude: (1) Up to two hours in the passenger seat of a CMV if that 2-hour period precedes or follows an 8-hour period in a sleeper berth; and (2) all time resting in a parked CMV. (Takes effect Feb. 27, 2012)