The FMCSA restricts the use of hand-held mobile devices by drivers of commercial vehicles. In addition to prohibiting texting, the FMCSA forbids a driver from holding a mobile device to make a call.
Drivers who use a mobile phone to talk while driving can only use a hands-free phone located in close proximity and may not reach for a device in a way that requires them to leave a seated driving position, restrained by a seat belt. They may not press more than a single button to make a call. The rule applies any time a commercial motor vehicle is on a roadway, whether or not it is moving.
Penalties for violations are stiff—up to $2,750 for drivers and up to $11,000 for employers who allow or require drivers to use a hand-held communications device while driving and potential revocation of a driver’s license. It’s also important to note that a carrier’s own policy may be stricter than the FMCSA requires.
Using a hand-held mobile phone is risky because it takes a driver’s eyes off the roadway. Research shows that the odds of being involved in an accident or dangerous event, such as unintentional lane deviation, are six times greater for drivers who engage in dialing a mobile phone while driving and 23 times greater when texting.