|New cell phone laws for truck and bus drivers|
|Saturday, 31 December 2011 15:11|
So, as of Tuesday, truck and bus drivers operating a commercial motor vehicle in interstate commerce will no longer be able to put their cell-phones up to their ears. In addition, dialing a mobile telephone while driving will also be illegal. A driver can initiate, answer, or terminate a call only if he or she can do so by touching a single button on the mobile telephone, earpiece, steering wheel, or instrument panel.
The new rule doesn't just apply to drivers, it applies to their bosses as well. Employers are prohibited from allowing or requiring their drivers to use hand-held mobile phones. And the new law says the employer is responsible for the driver's conduct.
The important word is hand-held. Drivers can still answer a cell-phone call, but the phone has to stay on the dash or in the holder. Earphones and remote microphones have to be used, activated by a single button.What do drivers think of the new rule. Some agree with it, but most don't.
One trucker named George says, "I'm not a person who likes thing poking in my ears. So you still have to fumble around and search for it and put it your ear if your phone rings or something like that and answer it."
Another trucker named Dave says, "This, I can say yes or no, get through, hang it up, lay it down. I can go on about my business. This, every time the phone rings I got to hook it up."
Drivers aren't just being stubborn. Communication is increasingly important in the transportation industry. Truck drivers say they have to stay in constant contact with dispatchers and supervisors.
Nevertheless, the Department of Transportation says something must be done about the more than 5,000 people who are dying on the roads each year as a result of distracted drivers. Truck and bus drivers who break the new rule will be slapped with fines of up to $2,750.
Al Van Zee