Cell phone usage is a sign of the times

Cell phone usage is a sign of the times.

Remember when, if the MRO called to speak with a driver, you had to contact the driver on a radio, have them pull off the road and call the MRO on a payphone?

If that happened today, you would have to tell the driver to pull the truck over and call the MRO on his cell phone. (We wouldn’t want THAT conversation to happen while they are driving… would we?)

Distracted driving is an issue today — no question, there have been fatal accidents caused by drivers who were talking on cell phones. So let’s just write a policy statement that says NO CELL PHONES IN TRUCKS. Problem solved, right? -Hardly.

Every driver, just like every teenager, has a cell phone in his/her pocket, some of them even have two. (Why they do that, I don’t know — maybe in case one breaks) and they talk or text constantly. As a motor carrier you can SAY “Don’t talk on your cell phone when you are driving” but it is pretty hard to enforce. Use of a hands-free device apparently does NOT make cell phone calls any less of a distraction. 

Maybe we need to give some thought to driver training and rulemaking. Instead of making a rule we cannot enforce (no cell phones) and blaming the driver if he has an accident while talking on it, some sensible rules and some education would be an option.

How about this policy:

Drivers, please keep your cell phones on.

If your family members need to get in touch they can. If you want to speak with your family members occasionally, briefly, you can do that.

But don’t talk for an extended period of time; it’s a communications device, not a form of entertainment.

That’s why you have a satellite radio. (all trucks do have satellite radios, don’t they?)

When drivers put the AM/FM radio on a DVIR, I’m usually the first one to say “Don’t gripe too much, I’ll put a delete plate there” but for the first time I am thinking the AM/FM can be considered safety equipment, if it keeps them off the cell phone.

We should train our drivers to make responsible decisions, like no extended conversations, turn it off when you get in traffic, be aware of no-cell-phone-zones in your operating area, etc.

But saying No to Cell Phones is like saying “Don’t ever exceed the speed limit.” We can’t enforce it and it gives drivers another reason to think the carrier’s rules don’t matter.

Just my two cents worth

Mike England, President

DOT Compliance Help, Inc



About DOT Compliance Help Inc
Phone: 847-836-6063 web: www.dotcompliancehelp.com e-mail info@dotcompliancehelp.com DOT Compliance Help, Inc. is a full-service consulting firm specializing in the interpretation and execution of the regulations and guidelines set forth by the US Department of Transportation Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. •Mission Statement• To assist our clients in establishing proper safety management controls in order to minimize accidents, injuries, and fatalities. The ultimate goals are safer roadways for the public and increased profits for our clients. Our core consulting competencies include FMCSA Assessments (mock audits), DOT compliance training (on-site and via webinar) and custom safety plans and policies. We also hold DOT compliance workshops and conferences all across the country. Utilizing a proprietary curriculum developed by our President, Mike England, our classes cover everything you need to know about the FMCSRs, how to survive your next DOT Compliance Review, and how Comprehensive safety Analysis (CSA 2010) will affect you. www.dotcompliancehelp.com

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