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Feds propose ban on handheld cellphone use by Hazmat truck drivers

Federal trucking safety rules continue to expand on commercial truck drivers’ texting or calling while they drive As a trial attorney handling tractor trailer and big rig crash cases throughout Georgia, I see how important this can be in trucking accident cases.

The latest Notice of Proposed Rulemaking was published April 29 by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, part of DOT, would prohibit use of a handheld cell phone by drivers moving a quantity of hazardous materials that must be placarded under 49 CFR Part 172 or any quantity of a material listed as a select agent or toxin in 42 CFR Part 73 in intrastate commerce.

This would expand upon rules already proposed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (also part of DOT). FMCSA barred texting by commercial motor vehicle drivers in a September 2010 final rule. It proposed to restrict the use of hand-held mobile phones in a Dec. 21, 2010,

PHMSA estimates that there are approximately 1,490 intrastate motor carriers that could be affected by this rulemaking.

Ken Shigley is an Atlanta, Georgia, trial attorney. He has been designated a “Super Lawyer” (Atlanta Magazine), one of the “Legal Elite” (Georgia Trend), and rated “AV Preeminent” by Martindale-Hubbell Legal Directory. He is author of Georgia Law of Torts: Trial Preparation & Practice (West, 2010), a Certified Civil Trial Attorney of the National Board of Trial Advocacy, and currently president-elect of the 42,000 member State Bar of Georgia. He has extensive experience in litigation and trial of cases involving serious personal injury, wrongful death, trucking accidents, automobile accidents, products liability, premises liability, and insurance. Mr. Shigley is a graduate of Furman University and Emory University Law School. This blog post is subject to our ethical disclaimer.