As Florida personal injury attorneys, we continually remind our readers about the dangers of distracted driving. Clearly those risks are compounded when the driver is behind the wheel of a massive tractor-trailer.
In fact, research shows that commercial drivers reaching for an object, such as a cell phone, are three times more likely to be involved in a crash or other safety-critical event. Dialing a hand-held cell phone makes it six times more likely that commercial drivers will be involved in a crash or other safety-critical event.
Given these alarming statistics, we are pleased that U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has announced a final rule specifically prohibiting interstate truck and bus drivers from using hand-held cell phones while operating their vehicles. The joint rule from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) is the latest action by the U.S. Department of Transportation to address distracted driving.
"When drivers of large trucks, buses and hazardous materials take their eyes off the road for even a few seconds, the outcome can be deadly," said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "I hope that this rule will save lives by helping commercial drivers stay laser-focused on safety at all times while behind the wheel."
The final rule prohibits commercial drivers from using a hand-held mobile telephone while operating a commercial truck or bus. Below are a few additional components of the rule:
- 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.
- 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.
"This final rule represents a giant leap for safety," said FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro. "It's just too dangerous for drivers to use a hand-held cell phone while operating a commercial vehicle. Drivers must keep their eyes on the road, hands on the wheel and head in the game when operating on our roads. Lives are at stake."
We could not agree more.
The Dellutri Law Group is focused on making bad situations better and putting lives back together. If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a Florida car accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation.
To learn more about your legal options, contact our experienced Florida injury attorneys for a free consultation.