April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month
Did you know your brain can miss seeing up to 50% of your driving environment when you talk on a cell phone? And, that according to research, drivers talking on cell phones had slower reaction times than drivers with a .08 blood alcohol content.
April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month and is the perfect time for motor carriers to reinforce to their drivers the dangers of distracted driving and the rules and regulations being enforced by the FMCSA.
According to these regulations, Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) drivers are prohibited from texting or using hand-held mobile phones while operating their vehicles. Violations can result in fines and/or disqualifications and will impact a motor carrier’s and/or driver’s Safety Management System (SMS) results. Texting means manually entering alphanumeric text into, or reading text from, an electronic device. The rules also restrict a CMV driver from reaching for or holding a mobile phone to conduct a voice communication, as well as dialing by pressing more than a single button. CMV drivers who use a mobile phone while driving can only operate a hands-free phone located in proximity. In short, the rule prohibits unsafely reaching for a device, holding a mobile phone, or pressing multiple buttons.
The rules impose sanctions for driver offenses, including civil penalties up to $2,750 and disqualification for multiple offenses. Motor carriers are also prohibited from requiring or allowing their drivers to text or use a hand-held mobile phone while driving and may be subject to civil penalties up to $11,000. Violations will impact SMS results.
This month reinforce to your drivers the dangers of distracted driving.
The National Safety Council offers tips for all drivers on staying safe all month.
It’s very easy to comply with the rules:
- No REACHING
- No HOLDING
- No DIALING
- No TEXTING
- No READING
Banning Distracted Driving: An Employer’s Guide to Protect Employees and Liability
- Implement a clear policy indicating that the employer does not require employees to answer calls while they are on the road. This includes the employer placing calls to employees while they are driving.
- Encourage your employees to plan their trips to include stops so they can safely return calls and emails.
- Establish company policy that makes it unnecessary for employees to text while driving to fulfill their job duties.
- Eliminate any incentives that may encourage employees to text/talk while operating a vehicle.
- Communicate your state’s regulations and associated fines to employees.
- Encourage employees to sign an anti-distracted driving pledge.
- Designate company vehicles as “distraction-free zones.”