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Can commercial truck drivers use cell phones while driving?

Distracted driving is a problem in the New Orleans area and all throughout the country. Most people probably agree that safe driving requires concentration on the road and not on other things like eating, playing with the radio or talking on a cellular phone. But, just because people understand this does not mean that everyone acts accordingly.

When a truck driver is at issue, distractions are particularly dangerous. This is because commercial trucks are so much bigger than passenger vehicles; thus, truck accidents tend to cause devastating damage when smaller vehicles are also involved. Given the dangers of a distracted truck driver on the road, what is the law about truckers using cell phones while they are driving?

In 2014, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, in conjunction with another federal agency, published rules that prohibit interstate truck drivers from using hand-held mobile phones while they are driving. Drivers can use a hands-free phone, but it must truly be hands-free, meaning that the driver doesn't even have to press a single button to dial.

In addition to prohibiting talking on a hand-held phone, the rules also cover texting. This means that commercial truck drivers must abstain not only from sending a text message, but they also cannot read a text message that they receive while driving.

A tractor-trailer accident is just too high of a risk to take when it comes to distracted driving. Therefore, the federal rules are stringent in prohibiting truck drivers from using hand-held cell phones. If a driver ignores the rules and gets in an accident, injured victims can use the trucker's cell phone use to show that the trucker, and maybe even the truck company, were liable for the damages.

Source: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, "Distracted Driving ," Accessed on Jan. 22, 2016

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