Cell Phone Laws for Truck Drivers
November 25, 2019
While it is hard to dispute how mobile phones make our lives easier, they also pose a serious risk when used behind the wheel. The National Safety Council reports that cell phones are involved in more than one-quarter of all auto accidents across the country. In a single year, distracted driving claimed more than 37,000 lives in this country.
When the driver is operating a multi-ton tractor trailer, the risk is even greater. To avoid distracted driving accidents, Pennsylvania and other states have strict cell phones laws for truck drivers to prevent catastrophic crashes that change lives within seconds.
CDL Cell Phone Laws
In 2012, the government enacted a federal law prohibiting any driver with a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) from using hand-held phones while driving. Two years later, Pennsylvania added the same law to its traffic code. While it is illegal to use a mobile device while operating a commercial vehicle, the definition of what constitutes cell phone usage can be a gray area for many.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA) defines cell phone usage as:
- Making a mobile phone call using at least one hand
- Dialing a mobile phone by pressing more than one button
- Reaching over for a mobile phone, causing the driver to leave the seated driving position
It is a common misconception that a driver must have the phone to their ear to violate CDL cell phone laws; you can be ticketed and fined for just holding the phone in your hand.
Penalties for CDL Cell Phone Law Violations
For truck drivers, the legal ability to drive is their livelihood. Yet, violating state and federal cell phone laws can jeopardize your job and your income. Penalties for violating cell phones laws are as follows:
- Fines of up to $2,750 for every offense
- CDL suspension after multiple offenses
- CDL suspension after two or more serious traffic violations
Companies that employ drivers who violate cell phone laws face their own fines of up to $11,000. It should be mentioned that cell phone laws do not only apply to moving trucks; you can be ticketed for using your phone at a red light or stop sign as well.
Philadelphia Semi Truck Accident Lawyers at Galfand Berger LLP Represent Victims Injured by Distracted Truck Drivers
Enormous, imposing commercial trucks are simply more dangerous than smaller vehicles in a crash. It only takes two to three seconds for a truck driver to take his hands off the wheel for a collision to occur. Philadelphia semi-truck accident lawyers at Galfand Berger LLP work on your behalf to hold negligent drivers accountable for the pain and property damage they cause. We review every detail of your case to determine if cell phone use or any other distraction was a factor. To schedule a free consultation, call us at 800-222-8792 or contact us online. Located in Philadelphia, Reading, Bethlehem, and Lancaster, we represent clients throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania, including Allentown and Harrisburg.