While each state has its own laws regarding making and receiving calls on a smartphone while driving (it’s legal in some states, while illegal in others), all states outlaw texting while driving. But what about truck drivers? Does the ban apply to them too? After all, you may have noticed truck drivers texting on many occasions. So, are what are they doing legal?
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is the federal agency that regulates the trucking industry. “Research commissioned by FMCSA shows the odds of being involved in a safety-critical event (e.g., crash, near-crash, unintentional lane deviation) are 23.2 times greater for CMV drivers who text while driving than for those who do not,” according to the FMCSA.
Nationwide Ban on Texting for Truck Drivers
Due to the dangers of texting behind the wheel, FMCSA has issued a nationwide ban that prohibits all truck drivers from texting while driving – no exceptions. So, if you happen to see a truck driver texting while behind the wheel, he or she is breaking the law.
If a trucker texts while driving, the driver faces disqualification for up to 120 days (four months), according to FMCSA. The driver also faces penalties up to $2,750. If an employer allows, encourages, or requires their drivers to text while driving, they face fines up to $11,000.
“What are the risks? – Texting is risky because it causes the driver to take his/her eyes off the roadway. Dispatching devices that are part of a fleet management system can be used for other purposes, but texting on a dispatching device is indistinguishable from texting on another text-capable device, and is therefore prohibited,” reports FMCSA.
Cell Phone Ordinances in Texas
Under Texas law, drivers are prohibited from sending and receiving text messages. Drivers with a learner’s permit are banned from using cell phones for calls until they’ve been driving for six months and drivers under the age of 18 are prohibited from using cell phones while driving, even just to make and receive phone calls.