The purposes of this policy is to create a safe work environment for our drivers and for the motoring public by addressing distracted driving in all its forms, including but not limited to handheld mobile phones, and how Robert Bearden, Inc. will comply with the Department of Transportation and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s restrictions of cellphone use for drivers of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs), established in 49 CFR Part 177.
This policy applies to all employees who are involved in the operation of CMVs for Robert Bearden, Inc. owned and operated businesses.
- Handheld mobile telephone (also known as cellphone, mobile phone, smart phone, handheld cell, I Pads, GPS Systems, laptops and handset) - Any mobile communication device that falls under or uses any commercial mobile radio service, as defined in the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) 47 CFR 20.3. Wireless communication devices such as satellite telephones and broadband radio service are also included in this definition. Two-way radios, walkie-talkies, Citizens Band radios and compliant mobile phones (i.e. hands-free headsets) are not considered handheld mobile telephones.
- Driving - Driving refers to operating a motor vehicle on the highway, including while not moving because of traffic, a traffic control device or other momentary delay. Driving does not include operating a commercial motor vehicle when the driver has moved the vehicle to the side of, or off, a highway and has halted in a location where the vehicle can safely remain stationary.
- Eat – Eat refers to the action of placing food in the mouth. Eating does not consist of drinking non-alcoholic beverages.
- Mobile radio and audio equipment – Mobile radio devices are defined as two-way radios, walkie-talkies, and Citizen Band (CB) radios. Audio equipment refers to equipment installed in a vehicle to provide in-vehicle entertainment and information for the vehicle occupant.
- Use of handheld mobile phones while driving is strictly prohibited. This includes all functions of the device including, but not limited to, phone calls, text messaging/SMS, email, MMS, Internet use, camera use, etc.
- Passengers making or taking calls for the driver is permissible provided the interaction does not affect the driver’s performance.
- Regular callers must be informed that the driver will not be available while driving and should be notified beforehand of the best times to call based on driving schedule.
- Employees who receive calls from co-workers who are driving are obligated to ask that the co-worker to call back at a more appropriate time.
- Drivers who violate the restriction will face federal civil penalties of up to $2,750 for each offense and disqualification from operating a commercial motor vehicle for multiple offenses. Additionally, states will suspend a driver's CDL after two or more serious traffic violations.
- Company employees are not allowed to eat in the vehicle while they are driving. If the employee wishes to eat, they are to pull over to a safe and legal location to park.
- Employees are not allowed to operate vehicle audio equipment while driving. The employee must pull over to a safe and legal location to park if they wish to use to audio equipment.
The use of headsets or hands-free devices while driving is permissible under the following circumstances:
- The device is pre-approved by Robert Bearden, Inc. for use
- Use of the device does not cause distraction (e.g., fiddling with the device or taking eyes off road to get it to function properly)
- Any dialing or use of the handset is handled while stopped or pulled to the side of the road, unless voice activated dialing is utilized or the dialing of said device requires the use of no more than one button
- Conversations do not interfere with the driver’s ability to drive safely
- Road conditions are generally good and do not threaten your safety
- Drivers must be in the seated driving position and properly restrained by a seat belt. Drivers are not in compliance if they unsafely reach for a mobile device, even if they intend to use the hands-free function.
Exception in Cases of Emergency
Drivers are permitted to use a handheld mobile telephone if necessary to communicate with law enforcement or other emergency services.
Robert Bearden, Inc. is not responsible for any traffic violations or parking tickets acquired by violation of city ordinance, state or federal laws regarding your driving habits and operation of your motor vehicle. Any ticket issued is the employee’s responsibility, even if the ticket is issued while conducting business for Robert Bearden, Inc..
Note that cellphone driving laws vary greatly by state, and it is the employee’s responsibility to be familiar with and abide by such laws. This is especially important for employees who travel on company business. Some states have laws banning all drivers from talking on handsets but permit the use of headsets.
All Robert Bearden, Inc. employees must comply with the company Distracted Driving Policy on top of abiding by any state or local regulations addressing the same matter.
If you have any uncertainty or questions regarding the content of this policy, you are required to consult your supervisor. This should be done prior to signing and agreeing to the Robert Bearden, Inc. Distracted Driving Policy.
I have read and understand Robert Bearden, Inc.’s Distracted Driving Policy, and I understand the requirements and expectations of me as an employee. I agree to adhere to all provisions and procedures outlined in the policy, and I understand that failure to do so may result in discipline up to and including termination.