Employment: Department of Labor Bans Texting For Commercial Drivers
The perils of distracted driving continues to gain attention. In December 2009, President Obama signed an Executive Order directing federal employees not to text while driving government vehicles. Then, on January 26, 2010, the Department of Transportation (DOT) announced regulations to be effective immediately banning texting while driving commercial motor vehicles (CMVs).
CMVs are "any self-propelled or towed motor vehicle used on a highway in interstate commerce to transport passengers or property when the vehicle (1) has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating, or gross vehicle weight or gross combination weight, of 4,563 kg (10,001 pounds) or more, whichever is greater; or (2) is designed or used to transport more than 8 passengers (including the driver) for compensation; or (3) is designed or used to transport more than 15 passengers, including the driver, and is not used to transport passengers for compensation; or (4) is used in transporting [hazardous material as defined by regulations]."
This rule does not affect the driver's ability to use a cell phone for phone calls or the driver's ability to use electronic dispatching tools or fleet management technology. However, the DOT is continuing its study of these other electronic medium.
If you employ drivers of CMVs, you will want to ensure that each of your drivers is well aware of this ban.
If you do not employ any CMV drivers, you should also heed this trend. More and more states and entities are considering whether it is safe to text and drive. You may want to consider whether your company should prohibit this if your employees are operating company vehicles or driving for company business.
By Kristen L. Brightmire, firstname.lastname@example.org