Effective January 3, 2012, certain commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers are restricted from holding a mobile telephone to conduct voice communication and dialing a mobile telephone by pressing more than a single button. Hands-free use is allowed by either an earpiece or speakerphone.
The new rule applies to drivers of all CMVs in interstate commerce (operating across state lines), drivers of CMVs over 26,000 pounds in intrastate commerce (operating within ND), and all drivers of CMVs transporting a quantity of hazardous material that requires placarding.
In September 2010, FMCSA issued a regulation banning text messaging while operating a commercial truck or bus and PHMSA released a companion regulation in February 2011 banning texting by intrastate hazardous materials drivers. Texting is also prohibited for all drivers in North Dakota.
Research commissioned by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) shows that the odds of being involved in a safety-critical event such as a crash, near-crash, or unintentional lane deviation is six times greater for CMV drivers who engage in dialing a mobile telephone while driving.