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US DOT Cell Phone Ban



On December 2nd, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued a final rule restricting the use of hand-held mobile phones while driving a commercial motor vehicle (CMV). The rule, which becomes effective on January 3, 2012, would allow officials to issue penalties for drivers in violation of the new rule with a maximum $2,750 fine, and/or the disqualification of a driver’s commercial drivers license (CDL). The rule as well, outlines the authority to fine an employer of a noncompliant driver a maximum $11,000 per violation; being contingent upon if that employer does not recognize the new rule, and/or allows or requires a driver to use a hand-held mobile phone while driving a CMV. The new rule specifically notes that “…a motor carrier should put in place or have company policies or practices that make it clear that a carrier does not allow or require hand-held mobile phone use while driving. A motor carrier is responsible for the actions of its drivers.”

Specific to ready mixed concrete operations, the actions prohibited and allowed are as follows:


  • Hand-held use of a cellular phone while driving a rmc truck
  • Hand-held use of a cellular phone while driving a rmc truck and “temporarily stationary because of traffic, a traffic control device, or other momentary delays.”
  • Push-to-talk function of cellular phones in lieu of a two-way radio while driving a rmc truck
  • Texting while driving a rmc truck
  • Hand-held use of a cellular phone to record truck odometer readings while driving a rmc truck
  • Excessive “reaching” for a cellular phone (i.e. phone under a seat, in sleeper berth, etc.)


  • Hand-held use of a cellular phone in a rmc truck while the truck is idling, parked, or otherwise stationary but not on a roadway
  • Two-way radios
  • Walkie-talkies
  • Speaker phone function of a cellular phone while operating a rmc truck
  • Hands-free cellular phones or functions
  • Single button touching on a cellular phone to initiate, answer, or terminate a call (i.e. voice activation, speed dialing, voice dialing, voice to text features)
  • Use of a hand-held cellular phone while driving a rmc truck to “communicate with law enforcement officials or other emergency services.”

*Although this new hand-held mobile phone use ban applies to interstate commerce (crossing state lines), there are certain provisions within the rule that require states adopt them within three years of the effective date. As with many other regulations set at the federal level, some states immediately adopt the new regulations making them effective in those states as well. Other states eventually adopt the new regulations on their own terms or risk losing federal transportation money. Please check with your state association to determine if and/or when your state will adopt this new rule.