Federal Commercial Motor Vehicle Texting Ban

The United States Department of Transportation has taken further steps to protect the safety of the motoring public from distracted drivers. The Department of Transportation has announced strict new laws banning drivers of commercial motor vehicles from texting and driving. Today’s faced paced society has led to an ever increasing use of cell phones while driving. Texting and driving has become an extremely dangerous distraction which is responsible for more and more fatal crashes every year.

The new ban imposed by the Department of Transportation applies only to operators of commercial motor vehicles. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration defines a “commercial motor vehicle (CMV)” as a motor vehicle which:

  • Has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating, or gross vehicle weight or gross combination weight, of 10,001 pounds or more, whichever is greater; or
  • Is designed or used to transport more than eight passengers (including the driver) for compensation; or
  • Is designed or used to transport more than 15 passengers, including the driver, and is not used to transport passengers for compensation; or
  • Is used in transporting hazardous material.

As the definition implies, commercial motor vehicles are extremely large vehicles capable of causing devastating crashes.

One of the most common commercial motor vehicles operating on U.S. roadways are tractor-trailer truck combinations, also referred to as semi-trucks, 18 wheelers, and tractor trailers. These large vehicles are responsible for numerous deaths each year due to distracted truck drivers. Truck drivers caught texting will now face fines up to $2,750 per violation. Studies by the Department of Transportation show that the likelihood of a crash is actually greater for a texting driver over an impaired driver. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has evidence showing the average individual who receives and sends text messages while driving takes their eyes off the road for 4.6 out of every 6 seconds while texting. While this is an extremely dangerous activity for any driver, commercial motor vehicle drivers are operating extremely heavy vehicles which carry the potential for greater harm to the public.

While the new Federal ban is currently only applicable to commercial motor vehicle drivers, many states are following suit and attempting to ban all drivers from texting and driving. If you are injured by a semi-truck driver who has caused a texting crash, you are entitled to reimbursement for all of your harms and losses. Commercial truck drivers are not only required to comply with newly enacted texting and driving bans, but are also required to comply with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR) which regulate all aspects of the operation of commercial motor vehicles. These Federal rules ensure drivers of these large commercial trucks are obeying numerous requirements which keep our communities safe against private companies attempting to risk our lives for profit. The devastating nature of truck and tractor trailer accidents requires a skilled Missouri semi-truck crash lawyer to handle your case. Chris Dixon has extensive experience handling truck and tractor trailer accidents across St. Louis and the State of Missouri.  Call 314.409.7060 or 855-402-7274 today for information regarding your rights following a commercial motor vehicle accident.

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