In an ongoing effort to curb dangerous driving practices on the roads and reduce truck accidents, the U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA) and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) have proposed a rule that would affect commercial truck drivers who carry hazardous materials.
The proposed rule is still in the advanced notice stage, which means that a notice has been published in the Federal Register providing information on the potential new rule or rule change. Stakeholders have the opportunity to comment on the proposal before it becomes a final rule.
Limiting Use of Electronic Devices
Per one advance notice, the FMSCA and PHMSA are considering making a rule "to limit or restrict the use of electronic devices or certain activities by commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers operating in interstate commerce and for drivers of CMVs containing a quantity of hazardous materials requiring placarding."
This means that hazmat truck drivers who cross state boundaries may be prohibited from using cell phones or other electronic devices while driving if the proposal becomes a final rule. Eliminating such distractions is an important step in preventing dangerous hazardous materials truck accidents.
A second advance notice seeks to specifically prohibit hazmat truck drivers from texting while driving. This proposal is different from the electronic-devices proposal because it would also apply to hazmat truck drivers who do not cross state lines.
Curbing Distracted Driving Among Commercial Truck Drivers
These regulatory actions aim to stop the problem of distracted driving by commercial truck drivers. They are part of a group of proposed rules that are in various stages of completion. A ban on texting while driving for CMV drivers recently became a final rule and went into effect on October 27, 2010. Other proposed rules that address commercial truck drivers' cell-phone use are in earlier stages of the process where they are reviewed by the White House's Office of Management and Budget.
Source: Regulatory action takes aim at electronic devices for hazmat haulers, Texting rule published, this time for real