July is Cell Phone Courtesy Month
by Angela Eliacostas, on Jul 2, 2019 9:31:00 PM
Ask Angela: What are your views on cell phone usage by commercial drivers?
This is a very important question. Different states have different laws for non-commercial drivers, so following the law isn't a satisfactory answer. As the number of distracted driving accidents and casualties grow so does the list of states that prohibit texting and hand-held device usage for all drivers.
It's good practice to follow the guidelines from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The FMCSA rules prohibit the hand-held usage of phones by all CMVs - no matter which state you're in.
The National Safety Council notes that cell phones are a top factor in distracted driving accidents even though the actual number of cell phone related accidents is underreported (as there is no test like a breathalyzer) and drivers are reluctant to admit to usage.
The NSC states that there is no safe way to use a cell phone and drive. They note that drivers can miss up to half of what's going on around them when they are engaged in a call. NSC supports their claim through research on multitasking.
The NSC findings on driving and cell phone conversations show that, "... both require a great deal of thought. When doing them at the same time, your brain is unable to do either well. For example, it's nearly impossible to read a book and have a phone conversation." They noted that crashes involved in distracted cell-phone driving result in delayed braking times and not seeing traffic signals.
My 3PL company rates all of the carriers we use. We do not use carriers that have accidents or violations. If you text/talk and drive not only are you endangering the lives around you, you're potentially also limiting the jobs your employer receives.
Drivers who use their phone must have them located where all functions can be initiated by touching a single button. FMCSA recommends a few things to remain in compliance :
- Have your phone close enough that you can use the touch screen/voice activation while properly in your seat belt.
- Use an earpiece or speaker phone function.
- Use voice-ativated dailing.
Overall, FMCSA reminds drivers of the slogan, "No call, No text, No ticket!"
These tips will not stop non-commercial drivers from using their phones, but it can help you watch out for their potential distracted driving.
This being said, the technology of cell phones is great for drivers to stay in touch with loved ones, being able to report instances and having an added level of safety and security. Just make sure to use them after the truck is parked.
Be safe out there everyone.
Angela Eliacostas, President and Founder of AGT Global Logistics. Angela is the 2018 Freightliner and WIT Influential Woman of the Year. She has more than 25 years of experience in the transportation industry. Angela is a leader in expediting shipments and serves as a liaison between carriers and companies. Her company AGT Global Logistics specializes in the energy and utilities sector.
The annual "Influential Woman in Trucking" Award provides recognition to a woman who provides leadership, creates change, and inspires others in the transportation industry. Because these industry trailblazers have years of experience and wisdom, WIT created the column, “Ask the Influential Woman in Trucking.” Therefore, the 2018 recipient, Angela Eliacostas, President and Founder of AGT Global Logistics, will be providing answers and advice to popular questions often asked by WIT members.