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How Fleets Are Reacting to the Cell Phone Ban

A new survey gauges reaction to the FMCSA’s ban on hand-held use of mobile phones while driving. Where do you stand, and how will you act?

March 2012, by - Also by this author

In January 2012, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) put into effect its ban on hand-held cell phone use by interstate truck and bus drivers while driving. This rule affects some 4 million drivers and 700,000 fleet operators.

Whether your fleet falls under interstate commercial motor vehicle (CMV) rules or not, there is an increasing amount of legislative focus on cell phone use by consumers and commercial drivers at both the state and federal levels.

ZoomSafer, a company that provides software to prevent distracted driving, conducted a survey that measures industry reaction to the new regulations. The survey queried 570 executives involved in numerous types of commercial and government fleets.

Have you recently instituted or updated your cell phone policy based on new local or federal regulations? How do your compliance efforts compare to those in the survey? Here are highlights of the survey.

Respondents that already have a cell phone policy.
Respondents that already have a cell phone policy.

Cell Phone Policy Implementation Is Growing
The chart at right tracks the percentage of respondents whose companies already have a written policy pertaining to employee use of mobile phones while driving.

This current survey of FMCSA-regulated fleets reveals significant changes in corporate attitudes pertaining to employee use of cell phones while driving on the job compared to previous survey data collected in May 2011 (of both FMCSA-regulated fleets and non-FMCSA-regulated fleets). While policy adoption was up compared to the May 2011 survey, FMCSA-regulated fleets are leading this charge by nearly a 30% margin.

In addition, of those companies surveyed that don’t yet have a cell phone policy, 72.2% of FMCSA-regulated fleets say they plan to implement a policy, versus only 30% of non-FMCSA fleets.

Respondents' reported enforcement methods.
Respondents' reported enforcement methods.

Policy Enforcement Methods
Fleets with cell phone policies report that they make some attempt to enforce compliance, averaging 90.4% for FMCSA and 88.6% for non-FMCSA fleets. That’s up from 53% in the May 2011 survey. However, the chart at left of FMSCA fleet respondents shows that such efforts are exclusively reactive.

Furthermore, less than one-third (33.1%) of respondents report that they are “very confident” their companies’ current enforcement methods are sufficient to ensure compliance with FMCSA regulations. Most FMCSA-regulated drivers (82%) carry personally owned cell phones, further complicating enforcement.

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  1. 1. jr23 [ April 03, 2013 @ 11:04PM ]

    i was a driver of cars and light trucks while the nhtsa rules would not have affected my job as a lab courier i wonder how state laws would affect a drive that gets 30 to 50 dispatches fron sever locations in a shift i have not seen any tech that would work
    we have hat pagers which are almost gone now cell and nextel type but theirs not a tech that i can see working yet
    in my 10 yrs with the lab we did not have any cases of accident and texting is not good to do driving but i understand some places and situations even at a red light you can be ticketed for looking at the screen
    and i really cant believe the tragic case that brought the cdl rule a tt stopped for traffic a young driver in a personal pu was texting hit the trailer and a school bus hit him neither cdl person was talking or texting but there the ones with the severe restrictions the pu driver paid for his mistake with his life

  2. 2. Chris [ November 01, 2013 @ 10:22AM ]

    Lots of people have driven drunk without incident. Should that be allowed too? These damn phones are becoming the number one public health concern. People walk into each other, poles...Crash into stuff. People cannot control their addiction.

    As far as 10 years and never had a "accident" (If youre driving KNOWINGLY impared by booze or technology it isn't an accident, its a avoidable crash).... I'm sure there was a similar conversation at NASA circa 1986.


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