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FMCSA Implements Hand-Held Cell Phone Ban in Texas, Throughout Nation

Earlier this year, the nation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) implemented a hand-held mobile telephone ban for commercial vehicle operators. The federal regulation also applies to the driver of any vehicle that transports hazardous materials and requires a placard. According to the FMCSA, reaching for or using a hand-held device distracts drivers and significantly increases the likelihood of a crash.

The new rule took effect on January 3rd and states that truck drivers must pull over to the side of the road when using hand-held cellular telephones. It was reportedly implemented in an effort to increase safety and reduce the number of deadly crashes involving commercial motor vehicles. Under the rule, motor carriers are also prohibited from requiring or allowing drivers to use hand-held cellular telephones. A semi or other commercial vehicle driver who is caught violating the regulation will incur stiff penalties and sanctions.

In response to the new regulation, Wiseway Transportation Services, a Wisconsin-based furniture shipment company, has issued a smartphone to each of its drivers. The thin, Android-based phones replaced the more rugged push-to-talk telephones the drivers previously carried. Wiseway’s Director of Information Technology, Steven McKenna, stated the phones were purchased in an effort to ensure company drivers do not run afoul of the new safety law. The mobile phones now provided to Wiseway drivers offer a speakerphone and may be activated entirely by a driver’s voice. By using a completely hands-free device, McKenna hopes company drivers can stay on schedule without risking their commercial vehicle licenses, as well as the safety of themselves and others.

McKenna stated despite that the corporate-issued telephones are so-called smartphones, Wiseway opted to lockdown the software that could be used on each device. Only business appropriate email and other applications will be installed on the mobile phones in order to keep drivers on task. According to McKenna, the GPS feature in each phone also allows Wiseway to track a driver’s location and determine their general speed. He reportedly believes such capabilities will increase overall driver safety.

When a bus, semi, or other commercial vehicle collides with a car, the resulting damage can be catastrophic or fatal. If you were injured or a loved one was killed in an accident with a commercial vehicle, you may be eligible to receive financial compensation for your medical expenses, suffering, pain, lost wages, lost benefits, any resulting disability, and a host of other damages. In some situations, the victim of an accident with a commercial vehicle may also be awarded punitive damages. In the United States, the trucking industry is massive. You should not be required to stand up against them alone. If you were hurt in an accident with a tractor trailer or other commercial vehicle, you should contact a capable Texas truck accident lawyer as soon as possible.

Call the law firm of Carabin Shaw toll free at (800) 862-1260 if you were injured in an accident with a motor coach or semi truck. Our experienced Austin truck accident attorneys assist those who suffered a catastrophic harm or tragic loss on a roadway in Texas. At Carabin Shaw, our knowledgeable lawyers are available to answer your questions and help you file your personal injury claim. Our dedicated attorneys represent injured clients throughout the State of Texas including Austin, Laredo, San Antonio, El Paso, Beeville, and Beaumont. For a free consultation with an attorney who will fight for you and your loved ones, do not hesitate to contact Carabin Shaw through our website.

More Blogs:

More Than One-Quarter Million SUVs Recalled in North America Over Fire Hazard, Texas Injury Lawyers Blog, August 19, 2012
Merck Drug Propecia Linked to Long-Term Side Effects in Texas and Nationwide, Texas Injury Lawyers Blog, July 27, 2012
Additional Resources:

New federal law, management capabilities get trucking company to buy into Android smartphones, by Ellen Messmer,

Drivers of CMVs: Restricting the Use of Cellular Phones, Federal Register Volume 76, Number 232 (Friday, December 2, 2011)


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