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Cell Phone Policy Protects Distributors- 6/1/2012
In light of a recent final rule from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) prohibiting drivers of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) from using handheld cell phones while operating their vehicles, gases and welding distributorships should review their cell phone use policies for all employees and vehicles. GAWDA’s Government Affairs & Human Resources Legal Consultant Richard P. Schweitzer, Esq., breaks down the latest ruling in “Review Your Cell Phone Policy.” His article appears in Welding & Gases Today, the leading magazine for the gases and welding equipment industry.
The new final rule covers both drivers of commercial motor vehicles in interstate commerce and intrastate drivers who operate CMVs transporting a quantity of hazardous materials requiring placarding under 49 CFR Part 172 or any quantity of a material listed as a select agent or toxin in 42 CFR part 73. The rule prohibits those drivers from using a handheld mobile telephone while operating a commercial truck. The DOT rule requires employers to “ensure” compliance by commercial vehicle drivers, but does not require that employers have policies on distracted driving or cell phone use while driving.
The Gases and Welding Distributors Association’s (GAWDA) Safety Committee has developed a sample company policy on distracted driving for association members. The sample policy prohibits the use of any communication device while driving a company vehicle. This includes talking or listening to a cellular phone, text messaging, reading or responding to email messages or accessing voice mail. Under the GAWDA policy, Bluetooth or other hands-free communication devices may be used only when a company vehicle is parked in a safe location.
To learn more about the cell phone ban and GAWDA’s cell phone policy, read “Review Your Cell Phone Policy” (http://www.weldingandgasestoday.org/index.php/2012/03/review-your-cell-phone-policy/) at Welding & Gases Today Online.