Everyone knows that distracted driving has taken on greater meaning with the advent of cell phones. The chance of costly and deadly accidents increases when it involves truck drivers using phones while behind the wheel. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration understands the magnitude of crashes caused by eighteen-wheelers and has put regulations in place to reduce that risk.
FMCSA rules explicitly address the use of cell phones. These not only include restrictions for cell phone use but also define just what using a mobile device means.
Texting according to the FMCSA
As defined by FMCSA regulations, texting means “manually entering alphanumeric text into, or reading text from, an electronic device.” Pressing more than one button either to make or to end a call is prohibited, and so is using a dispatching device for the purpose of texting. Truckers are also in violation when reaching for a mobile phone in such a way that they are no longer in the correct position to drive with their seatbelt fastened.
The hands-free difference
The only exception for using a hand-held mobile device is in an emergency or when it is necessary for the truck driver to call law enforcement. To comply with regulations, drivers must make connections by a hands-free method, either calling or texting by using just a single button to activate their mobile phone. Although FMCSA regulations do not mention the use of cameras specifically, common sense prevents a driver from using the mobile phone to snap a picture while operating the truck.
Adhering to Georgia rules
In the state of Georgia, all drivers are prohibited from texting, a law that is vigorously enforced. But cell phones are also used for receiving and sending emails, commenting on Facebook posts and more. However, the FCSMA regulations are clear. Truckers must stay focused on their driving responsibilities because of the catastrophic wrecks that can result if they allow their phones to distract them.