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Distracted driving rules for moving hazardous materials

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration have teamed up to make the roads safer by laying out rules regarding distracted driving for truck drivers who are transporting hazardous materials. These rules are very similar to those used for standard truck drivers, but they are potentially even more important due to the damage that a spill of hazardous materials can cause.

As may be expected, these rules start with a prohibition against texting and driving. However, drivers are also instructed never to read text messages that they get behind the wheel, so this is about more than typing out and sending their own.

Drivers are then asked not to send any email messages, to read incoming emails, to go on the web or to do anything else with their phones. As phones have evolved more capabilities, the rules have been drafted to specifically prohibit almost all of them.

The one thing drivers can do is talk on the phone if they have a system that allows them to do so in a hands-free manner. They cannot hold their phones in their hands — leaving just one hand for the wheel — or reach for them while driving. The hands-free system can be used for income and outgoing calls, but things must be set up so that drivers only have to push a maximum of a single button to activate the phone.

Have you been hurt by a driver who ignored these rules while transporting hazardous materials? If so, you may be able to seek financial compensation.

Source: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, “Distracted Driving,” accessed June 11, 2015

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