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Have been thinking about this one for a few days now, and have a hard time digesting what the FMCSA is wanting to do. In perspective, they want to suspend a CMV operators CDL for the “act of texting”, whereas a person that is convicted of drunk driving in most states gets a slap on the risk, a fine and continues on with their daily life. That CDL is a persons way of making a living, feeding his/her family and staying off the federal unemployment lines. The only way personally I could see such a penalty would be justified, is if the “act of texting” was the cause of an accident in which an accident occurred which involves property damage and/or injury to an individual(s). And then, only if, through a means of confirming (more than likely through a court order) that… more »
The exception noted in Section 392.80 would handle the emergency situation criteria. The fact that they found it necasarry to specifically use the term “citizens band radio” – a non-licensed communication device, and not go one step further to include the use of licensed devices such as Amateur, GRMS or Commercial Band radio (i.e. company radios) leaves room for mis-interpretation of the rule, for the intent that the sub-paragraph was added. Thank You
Quote: “(ii) Using an in-cab fleet management system or citizens band radio;” End Quote
I for one, as well as many other Licensed Amateur Radio operators would like to see this sub-paragraph amended to include: or utilization of equipment by FCC Licensed Radio operators. Many states have included exception in their current and future mobile legislation that read similar. A portion of Amateur Radio operators provide valuable services in time of disaster, and during events such as Hurricane Katrina, Ike and other have been utilized to relay valuable information to state and federal authorities through direct and/or relayed means. Some modes of Amateur Radio do have the ability to relay text type messages, and these should be exempted in time of emergency or other needs. Then again,… more »
Quote:”How will any law enforcement entity know when a driver is texting?”End Quote
This is an interesting question, and one that can lead to abuse of the rule by any law enforcement entity that may choose to do so. Officer going down the road, and just decides to pull over a truck and accuse the driver of TWD, request to see the drivers phone, driver refuses – instant ticket and road side inspection, or, driver give the officer the phone, officer sees that a text message was sent 45 minutes ago, officer: where you sitting still when this was sent? Driver – yes Officer: let me see your log book showing that you stopped. OOPS – driver did not log the 3 minutes he pulled over in the rest area to send a quick message home. Instant ticket.
Here is a solution:… more »
Large fleets have very accurate means to track their trucks, the loads, and most critical data on the operation of the truck. These systems, one such is Qualcomm, also allow for dispatch to truck, and truck to dispatch communications, i.e. texting of sorts, and even some fleets have accounts set-up so drivers can use the system for e-mail. A few fleets, very few also have video data recorders in the cab. There is no system that I am aware of, that would allow a Fleet Manager, Dispatcher or anyone for that matter, to track communication exchanges from a drivers personal cell phone, laptop or other device capable of relaying wireless messages. Many fleets have rule in their drivers handbooks, prohibiting the use of a variety of devices, including personal cell phone while the vehicle is in… more »
Quote: ” CMV Commercial Motor Vehicle drivers who text were 23 times more likely to have a “safety critical event” than non-texters.”End Quote
While I find this statistic interesting, since this is a rule FMCSA is trying to shove on CMV operators, since that is their only jurisdiction, multiple other studies have shown, that as a whole, any driver that is distracted by texting is anywhere from 20 to 50% more likely to have a critical incident, then non-texting drivers. Other studies have also shown, that in incident involving a CMV and a non-CMV, that over 80% of the time, the non-CMV operator is at fault. But, because the general motoring public would scream murder and boot the congressman and senator out of office at the next election if they messed with their cell phones… more »
In-Cab video devices are used by a rare few companies, more for time – motion studies for looking at ways to save cost, more so, than keeping tabs on the drivers themselves. Another problem with in-cab systems is invasion of privacy, which always becomes a debate when discussing HOS and other regulatory means. Trying to implement this type of system just in fleet trucks would be near impossible, then you add in the million plus Owner Operators that not only not allow such intrusions, but could not afford the technology to start with. As stated in a previous post, the only way that such a regulation would be enforceable, would be to regulate the technology and the providers to such, that motion over a set speed would disable the devices ability to text. This would have to be done on… more »
Focusing on the consequences of suspending a CDL license is important. In the texting rule’s current form, a CDL license suspension would likely not occur until after the CMV driver received at least one prior texting violation. Do you think imposing a fine for the first texting violation is a sufficient warning?
This is an interesting suggestion.
The NPRM in its current form includes an exception in Section 392.80 for:
“2) Texting is permissible by drivers of a commercial motor vehicle when necessary to communicate with law enforcement officials or other emergency services.”
Do you think that this exception would be sufficient to address your concerns?
One issue not explicitly mentioned here is that the use of speed or motion based disablement technologies seems based on the assumption that a driver is unaccompanied while working. Are there technologies which overcome this issue? Even if there are, is this the type of technology that truckers, employers, citizens, etc. would like to see in their vehicles?
Welcome to Regulation Room and thank you for your thoughtful comments.
Do you think that the cab video data recorders should be required in every cab? Do you think that this could be a more effective way to enforce the proposed texting regulation?
Trlrider, this is a very interesting proposal.
What do others in the community think about this as a potential solution?