August 12th, 2010
WASHINGTON — With Hours of Service, EOBRs and CSA 2010, among other issues, getting the majority of the attention among trucking industry stakeholders, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration with little notice sent the proposed rulemaking that would ban texting by commercial vehicle operators to the office of Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood some two weeks ahead of schedule.
According to the DOT August rulemaking management system, the NPRM on texting was projected to go to LaHood Aug. 2, but was actually sent July 23.
It is now scheduled to go to the White House Office of Management and Budget Aug. 23 with OMB clearance Sept. 10 and is to be released to the public for comment on Sept. 17.
LaHood has made the elimination of distracted driving, including texting, a major emphasis of the DOT.
Through an anti-text rule, the FMCSA proposes (1) to prohibit texting using electronic devices by certain drivers while operating CMVs in interstate commerce; (2) to provide sanctions for certain drivers convicted of texting while driving, including civil penalties and/or disqualification from driving commercial vehicles for a specified period of time; and (3) to provide sanctions for CDL drivers convicted of violating a state or local law or ordinance prohibiting texting while operating a CMV, specifically, a disqualification for a specified period of time from operating any CMV.
The FMCSA said the rulemaking is in response to agency-sponsored studies that analyzed safety incidents and distracted drivers, adding that the rule would also address one of the items on the National Transportation Safety Board’s “Most Wanted List.”