Cell Phone Laws Have Changed for Commercial Vehicle Drivers

Cell Phone Laws Have Changed for Commercial Vehicle Drivers

In the state of Missouri, it is legal to talk on the phone while driving a passenger vehicle. But the law regarding cell phone usage while operating a commercial vehicle has changed. Depending on the weight of the truck, a new federal mandate states that those driving a commercial vehicle must use a "one touch" method if they wish to talk on the cell phone while driving.

"It would be a hands free device," said Sgt. Bernhardt.

"A one touch telephone call can be made utilizing a cell phone only if it can be done while the driver is seat belted in the seat of a commercial vehicle. Commercial motor vehicle drivers can no longer hold the cell phone in their hand to make a call or answer a call, unless it is being used in an emergency or to contact law enforcement to report crashes, or intoxicated drivers."

Bernhardt said that several months ago, the Department of Transportation set a mandate that it is against the law to text while operating a commercial vehicle. There are also restrictions for young drivers regarding texting and driving.

"In the state of Missouri, it is illegal for anyone 21 or younger to operate a motor vehicle and send or receive a text or use a mobile data device," Sgt. Bernhardt said.

Bernhardt mentioned that this law also applies to those 21 and younger participating in activities such as reading Facebook feeds on smart phones while driving. Although it is legal for those over 21 to text while driving in the state of Missouri, Sgt. Bernhardt said it is certainly not the safest thing to do while out on the roads.

"Obviously texting or talking on the cell phone is a very unsafe driving practice because when you're talking on the cell phone, when you're texting, that takes your eyes off of the roadway and gives you an increased chance of being involved in a traffic crash."

Distracted Driving Statistics

Here are the Missouri State Highway Patrol statistics to prove his claim. In 2010, there were 151,353 car crashes in the State of Missouri. Of those crashes, 21 people were killed due to the driver using a cell phone at the the time of crash. 558 were injured. Also, there were 1,772 traffic crashes in 2010 due to driving and using a cell phone. In regards to commercial vehicles, they were involved in nine percent of all traffic crashes in 2010. In those crashes, 105 people were killed and 4,007 were injured.

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