CHICAGO --The National Automatic Merchandising Association has issued a Legislative Alert to inform its members about a recent amendment to federal motor carrier safety regulations enacted by the U.S. Department of Transportation. The rule took effect earlier this year, and should be understood by operators and distributors. | SEE STORY
Under the new rule, drivers of commercial motor vehicles must use compliant mobile phones while engaged in interstate commerce. In general, compliance involves using only hands-free instruments. It also prohibits motor carriers from requiring or permitting their commercial drivers to use handheld mobile phones.
"All drivers operating CMVs in the course of interstate commerce are subject to the amended regulations," NAMA reported. "Thus, drivers of CMVs who transport products across state lines on behalf of vending companies, operators and suppliers, etc., are required to comply. This means those CMV drivers who are carrying goods on interstates are arguably covered by this law, too, even if their routes do not cross state lines.
"Lastly, commercial drivers' license (CDL) holders who operate CMVs (even if just intrastate) are covered drivers," the association added.
Penalties for violation of the new rule are substantial. The regulations implement "driver disqualification sanctions" for commercial drivers' license (CDL) holders who have multiple convictions for violating a state or local laws, or ordinances, on motor vehicle traffic control that restricts the use of handheld mobile telephones, NAMA explained.
General civil penalties may be assessed against drivers who violate the regulations. And employers who fail to require their drivers to comply with the regulations may also be subject to civil penalties.
The NAMA Legislative Alert may be downloaded at highroadsolution.com.