Monday, January 09, 2012

Use of Hand-Held Mobile Phones by Commercial Drivers Restricted

Effective January 3, 2012, new Federal regulations (76 FR 75470, amending 49 CFR Parts 177, 383, 384, 390, 391, and 392)  prohibit most use of hand-held phones by commercial motor vehicle drivers. In Massachusetts, regulations of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration are "incorporated by reference as the regulations of the Registry of Motor Vehicles" under 540 CMR 14.03.

According to the Secretary of Transportation, "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. Additionally, states will suspend a driver's commercial driver's license (CDL) after two or more serious traffic violations. Commercial truck and bus companies that allow their drivers to use hand-held cell phones while driving will face a maximum penalty of $11,000. Approximately four million commercial drivers would be affected by this final rule."

More information on this and other driving regulations is available at Mass. Law About Traffic Violations.