For the Record

Truckers News Staff | February 01, 2011

— Todd Spencer, executive vice president, Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association

ATA “When viewed against trucking’s sterling safety record, it’s plain that the Obama Administration’s willingness to break something that’s not broken likely has everything to do with politics and little or nothing to do with highway safety or driver health.”

— Bill Graves, president and CEO, American Trucking Associations

Proposed changes for most drivers

Driving Window

Max time on-duty within driving window

Max time driving within driving window

Consecutive driving hrs. limit


Sleeper Berth split as sub for 10 hrs. off-duty

On-duty definition

Current rule

14-hrs. — on-duty/not driving can continue after window

14 hrs.

11 hrs.


After 34 hrs. off-duty

Periods of 8 and 2 hrs. off-duty; ­longer period can extend 14-hr. window

Includes any time in truck but for sleeper berth


All work must be completed within 14-hr. window; Two 16-hr. window periods allowed per week for on-duty/not driving completion

13 hrs.

10 and 11 hrs. both considered

7 hrs. (may only drive if less than 7 hrs. since last 30-min. off-duty period)

34 hrs. must include two periods between midnight-6 a.m. and may only be used once/week

Same 8/2 hr. split, but including all new driving, on-duty and duty-period limits

Does not include time resting in a parked truck. In moving truck, does not include up to 2 hrs. in passenger seat before or after 8 hrs. in sleeper

FMCSA Proposes Handheld Cell Phone Ban

Making good on its promise to curb distracted driving practices, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has issued a notice of proposed rulemaking that would prohibit interstate commercial truck and bus drivers from reaching for, dialing or holding handheld cell phones while driving.

The announcement comes three months after FMCSA issued a final rule banning commercial vehicle drivers from texting while driving.

The proposal would fine drivers up to $2,750 in federal civil penalties for each offense and disqualify their commercial driver’s license for repeat offenses. Additionally, states would suspend a driver’s CDL after two or more violations of any state law on handheld cell phone use. Carriers that allow their drivers to use handheld cell phones while driving would face a maximum penalty of $11,000.

According to Virginia Tech Transportation Institute research cited by FMCSA, using a handheld cell phone while driving significantly increases the likelihood of an accident or safety-critical event. In particular, reaching for an object while driving triples the crash risk, and dialing a phone number into a handheld phone while driving increases crash risk six times.

“Every time a commercial truck or bus driver takes his or her eyes off the road to use a cell phone, even for a few seconds, the driver places everyone around them at risk,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “This proposed rule will go a long way toward keeping a driver’s full attention focused on the road.” strives to maintain an open forum for reader opinions. Click here to read our comment policy.