New rules have been published by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) that restrict texting, and the use of hand-held mobile phones by drivers while operating a commercial motor vehicle (CMV). Even though FedEx Ground ISP and CSP independent contractors operate under the DOT authority of FedEx Ground, it’s still important for you and all commercial drivers within your business to know and follow the rules, as the consequences can be extremely expensive for your business.
The Numbers Don’t Lie
In a recent study conducted by the FMCSA, they found that the odds of being involved in a safety-related event (e.g., a crash, a near-crash, or an unintentional lane deviation) are 23.2 times greater for commercial vehicle drivers who text while driving than for those who do not. Drivers that text were found to take their eyes off the forward roadway for an average of 4.6 seconds. At 55 mph, this is equivalent to a driver traveling 371 feet (that’s the approximate length of a football field including the end zones) without looking at the road ahead! As you can see, that’s a lot of time and a lot of ground covered. It can only take seconds for the car in front of you to slam on their brakes and if your attention is on your phone, you lose any and all reaction time to avoid an accident.
So What’s Considered Texting While Driving?
So what exactly is considered “texting” while driving? Texting means manually entering text into, or reading a text from someone, on an electronic device. Texting also includes (but is not limited to) , short message services, emailing, instant messaging, browsing the internet or viewing a webpage, pressing more than a single button to initiate or terminate a call using a mobile telephone, or engaging in any other form of electronic text retrieval or entry, for present or future communication. All of these examples are considered texting while driving or distracted driving, as it’s often referred to as, and must be avoided at all costs.
If there is a situation where you or one of your drivers receive a text that must be handled right away, we always recommend that you pull your vehicle over to the side of the road or into a rest station, anywhere that you deem a safe place to stop, then take out your phone and respond accordingly.
What Are The Consequences?
Fines and Penalties can result in driver disqualification for up to 120 days as well as cost you up to $2,750 for drivers and up to $11,000 for employers who allow or require drivers to use a hand-held communication device for texting while driving. If your FedEx Ground driver causes an accident, your Non Trucking Liability Insurance and Workers Compensation costs may increase. Plus, we all know about the FedEx Ground indemnification costs.
So please, drive safely, comply with these rules, and simply do not type or read a text message while driving! For more information on distracted driving, and to view the “No Texting Rule Fact Sheet” visit www.fmcsa.dot.gov/driver-safety/distracted-driving.