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New Rule – Commercial Drivers’ Hand-Held Cell Phone Use Banned

November 23, 2011

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At the height of this Thanksgiving travel weekend, The United States Department of Transportation issued a Final Rule announcing an end to hand-held cell phone use by drivers of buses and large commercial trucks.   The purpose of this rule is to end distracted driving.  This rule will stop commercial drivers from having to reach for a cell phone when it rings and prevent them from dialing a hand-held cell phone while driving.   This rule works in conjunction with a rule issued late last year that bans texting while driving a commercial vehicle.

A hearty thank you should be extended to Secretary of Transportation, Ray LaHood, for this announcement.  This rule further bolsters the message “Put it Down!” echoed in the government’s already  A+ dedicated website for public awareness about the hazards of distracted driving. Parents can even download a “talk to your teens” brochure about the hazards of texting while driving.

Earlier this year, Nurenberg Paris also dedicated funds toward this same public service announcement.  We have two (2) commercial billboards on major City of Cleveland Highways asking drivers to not text and drive with the accompanying slogan “Be Safe - Arrive Alive!”  We are also currently spending money on television commercials with the same message.

Driver inattention can turn deadly any time a driver takes his eyes off the road.  According to the Secretary LaHood's Press Release, the Final Rules fines are steep, charging the truck or bus driver $2,750.00 for each offense.   If the holder of a Commercial Drivers License ("CDL") has multiple offenses, then that individual can lose his or her CDL and be disqualified from driving a commercial vehicle.  The new Final Rule will affect four million commercial drivers. If truck and bus companies don’t educate their drivers about the new Final Rule, then they, too, can face penalties up to $11,000.00.

On behalf of our clients, and in keeping with the Thanksgiving Holiday, Nurenberg Paris would like to again thank Secretary LaHood and his team of government officials for taking this bold step in making our nation’s highways safe for our families and safe from the perils of distracted driving.

Authored by: Trial Attorney / Truck Attorney – Andrew R. Young – Class A CDL License

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