What has changed from 2003 to today that has prompted the FMCSA to revisit the use of cell phones by professional truck drivers? This is not as easy a question to answer due to extenuating circumstances surrounding the use of telecommunications in our society. Mandrodt, Kent and Parker found that truck-related accidents were reduced when drivers were not required to stand in long lines at truck stops to inquire about current or future loads (2003). However, compared to 2003, how many truck drivers are using cell phone technology today? With cell phone costs decreasing in cost, more and more drivers have the ability to have this technology.
The trucking community is not the only entity sharing America’s highways. There is a significant increase in cell phone use by all motor vehicle drivers. As such, the increased danger of accidents involving a commercial vehicle is increased as well. This is not to say that truck drivers are causing accidents by using their cell phones. Instead, truck drivers need to be vigilant to the work environment around them, due to the fact that many non-professional drivers are not paying attention, talking and texting on their cell phones. According to Curry, the idea of using cell phones in a moving vehicle was dangerous due to distracted driving (2003, p. 29). As professional drivers, the trucking community is expected to rise above those who share the roads. The recent announcement by US Transportation Secretary LaHood, the final ruling that truck drivers may not use hand-held cell phones does not completely restrict cell phone use by drivers. It only prohibits hand-held use of these devices. To read the full story, click here: http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/about/news/news-releases/2011/Secretary-LaHood-….
The ability of the trucking community to have access to telecommunication devices such as cell phones assists those in law enforcement. Stay tuned for further coverage.
Manrodt, K., Kent, J., & Parker, R. (2003). Operational implications of mobile communications in the motor carrier industry.Transportation Journal, 42(3), 50-50. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/204596201?accountid=8289
Curry, D. (2002). In-vehicle cell phones: Fatal distraction?Professional Safety, 47(3), 28-33. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/200300547?accountid=8289