The DOT has just finalized a rule restricting mobile phone use by drivers of commercial motor vehicles (CMV’s). The new rule goes into effect Jan 3, 2012. The rule restricts CMV drivers from reaching for or holding mobile telephones while operating their vehicles, or pushing more than one button to operate the device.
This rule, which goes into effect on January 3, 2012, was adopted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, which are part of the Department of Transportation. It amends both Federal Motor Carrier Safety regulations and Hazardous Materials regulations. The rule restricts CMV drivers from reaching for or holding mobile telephones while operating their vehicles, or pushing more than one button to operate the device.
The popular Push-To-Talk (PTT) feature used by many drivers is prohibited by this new rule. While, functionally, the PTT feature is similar to the use of a CB or two-way radio (neither of which is addressed by the new rule and therefore still permissible), the final rule advises that PTT is prohibited because the device used for PTT comes squarely within the definition of a mobile telephone prohibited by the rule, and it also requires the driver or user to hold it and push a button more than once. Therefore, its use while driving a CMV is the same as that of a hand-held mobile telephone and is prohibited.
Exception: Emergencies. Using a hand-held mobile telephone is permissible by drivers of a CMV when necessary to communicate with law enforcement officials or other emergency services.
Bottom line, your driver is still OK to use the CB but using the cell phone to get back to you while driving is verboten.
More information: Fisher Phillips