A federal law that aims to reduce number of truck and commercial vehicle accidents and injury caused by distracted driving has recently gone into effect. The law, which took effect at the beginning of this year, affects nearly 4 million truck and bus drivers, plus millions of other commercial drivers who work for businesses both large and small.
The recently passed law prohibits commercial vehicle drivers from using hand-held cellphones while the vehicle is in motion. The ban applies to operators of commercial vehicles, defined as those vehicles weighing more than 10,000 pounds which cross state lines for business purposes or any other vehicle weighing more than 26,000 pounds which includes all sorts of vehicles from tractor-trailers to large delivery trucks.
The ban imposes stiff fines for drivers who violate the law. For each offense, violators face a civil penalty of up to $2,750. If a driver is a repeat offender, he or she can lose their commercial vehicle operator's license. Even more seriously, drivers who commit two major violations within a three-year period will lose their driving privileges for at least 60 days. If there are three or more violations within three years, the penalty is a suspended license for 120 days, something that will hit operators of commercial vehicles where it counts: their wallets.
Drivers are not the only ones who can be penalized under the new law; companies can be held responsible as well. Any company that allows or requires their employees to use hand-held cellphones while driving the company or other work-related vehicle can be fined up to $11,000. Holding the employers' feet to the fire is another method of ensuring that all steps are taken to encourage the safe operation of commercial vehicles. To comply with the law, many companies and organizations are scrambling to draft and implement internal policies prohibiting cellphone use while on company business.
However, as many Missouri personal injury attorneys can tell you, even the best plans to rid the roads of distracted drivers won't stop some from refusing to behave responsibly behind the wheel. The St. Louis injury lawyers at Sansone / Lauber believe that the best way to protect yourself against distracted driving by commercial vehicles is to pay special attention while driving and carefully watch the road ahead of you. For information on how to protect your legal rights if you or a loved one has been seriously injured, call one of our Missouri car accident attorneys today at 1-314-863-0500.
Source: "Companies weigh risks of distracted driving" by Larry Copeland, published at USAToday.com.
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