Safety Focus of the Week: Hand-Held Electronic Devices and Driving
Hand-held electronic devices are the most common driver distractions. The statistics are very concerning:
- 3,179 people were killed, and 431,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers in 2014.
- Approximately 660,000 drivers are using cell phones or manipulating electronic devices while driving at any given daylight moment across America.
- The percentage of drivers text-messaging or visibly manipulating handheld devices increased from 1.7 percent in 2013 to 2.2 percent in 2014.
It has been over 2 years since Vermont passed the ban on the use of portable hand-held devices.
Violations of the Vermont law involve minimum fines of $100 for the first offense. Additionally, 2 points are assessed against a driver if the offense occurs in a construction work zone.
Hand held devices are also regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration of the US Department of Transportation.
The FMSCA regulation applies to commercial motor vehicles (any combined gross vehicle weight rating over 10,000 lbs). This CGVWR applies to a large part of our fleet. The penalty for violating this rule is up to $2750 to the driver and up to $11,000 for the employer, which is much higher than the Vermont law.