Category Archives: Cell phones

Feds To Ban Truckers From Using (Hand-Held) Cell Phones

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

Today’s post comes from guest author from Jon Gelman, LLC – Attorney at Law.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is proposing to restrict the use of hand-held mobile telephones, including hand-held cell phones, by drivers of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) while operating in interstate commerce. Cell phones have become a major cause of distracted driving accidents resulting in an increase of workers’ compensation claims by employees as well as liability lawsuits against employers directly. This federal rule would be in addition to the many states which already ban hand-held cell phone use.

The following is a summary of the proposed rule:<!–more–> “FMCSA and PHMSA are amending the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) and the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) to restrict the use of hand-held mobile telephones by drivers of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs). This rulemaking will improve safety on the Nation’s highways by reducing the prevalence of distracted driving-related crashes, fatalities, and injuries involving drivers of CMVs. The Agencies also amend their regulations to implement new driver disqualification sanctions for drivers of CMVs who fail to comply with this Federal restriction and new driver disqualification sanctions for commercial driver’s license (CDL) holders who have multiple convictions for violating a State or local law or ordinance on motor vehicle traffic control that restricts the use of hand-held mobile telephones. Additionally, motor carriers are prohibited from requiring or allowing drivers of CMVs to use hand-held mobile telephones.”

You can read the full text of the proposed rule here: http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/rules-regulations/administration/rulemakings/final/Mobile_phone_NFRM.pdf.

For over 3 decades the Law Offices of Jon L. Gelman in New Jersey have been representing injured workers and their families who have suffered occupational accidents and illnesses. Jon is a prolific author, public speaker and educator on the topic of workers’ compensation law.

Cell Tower Deaths: More To Come

On May 22, 2012 the PBS Frontline series ran a devastating story about cell tower deaths in this exploding industry and at the end of the story, after it had revealed how little concern is being shown for the safety of men who climb these towers, one man was quoted as saying “people will die.”

It was reported that the accident rate on cell towers is ten times the rate of accidents in the construction industry. So, we know people will die and it’s as predictable as snow in Colorado in the winter, yet it looks like nothing will be done.

One well known builder said his company might do 4 towers in a year, but now they were being asked to do 40, and there was no way to properly train new men to do that work safely.

The Frontline story outlined the tremendous growth of cell towers, particularly between 2006-2008 as the demand grew for internet connections all over the country. Carriers like AT&T wanted to get rid of dead zones and in order to do that they needed more towers and they needed them built quickly to out pace the competition. One well known builder said his company might do 4 towers in a year, but now they were being asked to do 40, and there was no way to properly train new men to do that work safely. As a result, safety took a back seat to getting the job done.

A 21 year old man who had dropped out of school to find a job was paid $10 an hour full time to construct towers and he eventually fell 200 feet to his death, primarily because he was not wearing a safety harness that would have prevented his fall. He had been ‘free-climbing” (no harness) to move more quickly,and many others did the same thing. OSHA requires that the employer enforce safety.

A 21 year old man who had dropped out of school to find a job was paid $10 an hour full time to construct towers and he eventualy fell 200 feet to his death.

The boss can’t just leave it up to the employee and when a death occurs blame the employee for not following safety rules, but that is what always happens. Eleven deaths occured in one year on AT&T jobs and they stopped work (finally) to discuss the problem. Last year there were no deaths on AT&T towers. It’s amazing what can happen when companies make safety a priority.

It’s amazing what can happen when companies make safety a priority.

Unfortunately, the demand is still high and as these towers continue to be built you will hear about falls,serious injuries and deaths, all at a tragic cost to families who are affected. As Americans, are we going to enforce safety or are we going to be like some other countries who just don’t seem to care? If we don’t care about safety enforcement for cell towers how long will it be before some other lack of safety compliance affects us – like airline pilot safety, bridge construction safety, or car safety – and a son,daughter, father or other person we care about is injured? We will ask ourselves why we

didn’t do more to stop this madnness. We know “people will die” yet we do nothing? We have to stop hoping that safety will be enforced. We have to demand it.

Cell Tower Deaths: More To Come

On May 22, 2012 the PBS Frontline series ran a devastating story about cell tower deaths in this exploding industry and at the end of the story, after it had revealed how little concern is being shown for the safety of men who climb these towers, one man was quoted as saying “people will die.”

It was reported that the accident rate on cell towers is ten times the rate of accidents in the construction industry. So, we know people will die and it’s as predictable as snow in Colorado in the winter, yet it looks like nothing will be done.

One well known builder said his company might do 4 towers in a year, but now they were being asked to do 40, and there was no way to properly train new men to do that work safely.

The Frontline story outlined the tremendous growth of cell towers, particularly between 2006-2008 as the demand grew for internet connections all over the country. Carriers like AT&T wanted to get rid of dead zones and in order to do that they needed more towers and they needed them built quickly to out pace the competition. One well known builder said his company might do 4 towers in a year, but now they were being asked to do 40, and there was no way to properly train new men to do that work safely. As a result, safety took a back seat to getting the job done.

A 21 year old man who had dropped out of school to find a job was paid $10 an hour full time to construct towers and he eventually fell 200 feet to his death, primarily because he was not wearing a safety harness that would have prevented his fall. He had been ‘free-climbing” (no harness) to move more quickly,and many others did the same thing. OSHA requires that the employer enforce safety.

A 21 year old man who had dropped out of school to find a job was paid $10 an hour full time to construct towers and he eventualy fell 200 feet to his death.

The boss can’t just leave it up to the employee and when a death occurs blame the employee for not following safety rules, but that is what always happens. Eleven deaths occured in one year on AT&T jobs and they stopped work (finally) to discuss the problem. Last year there were no deaths on AT&T towers. It’s amazing what can happen when companies make safety a priority.

It’s amazing what can happen when companies make safety a priority.

Unfortunately, the demand is still high and as these towers continue to be built you will hear about falls,serious injuries and deaths, all at a tragic cost to families who are affected. As Americans, are we going to enforce safety or are we going to be like some other countries who just don’t seem to care? If we don’t care about safety enforcement for cell towers how long will it be before some other lack of safety compliance affects us – like airline pilot safety, bridge construction safety, or car safety – and a son,daughter, father or other person we care about is injured? We will ask ourselves why we

didn’t do more to stop this madnness. We know “people will die” yet we do nothing? We have to stop hoping that safety will be enforced. We have to demand it.

Cell phone ban for commercial drivers could affect truckers' work' comp' claims

Our post for today comes to us from our colleague Rod Rehm of Rehm, Bennett & Moore in Nebraska.

On Tuesday the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) issued a recommendation that could affect millions of truckers. The NTSB proposed that commercial drivers be banned from using both hand-held and hands-free mobile phones while driving on the job.

While the NTSB is a U.S. government organization, their recommendation is not a law. However the board’s actions may prompt local, state, and federal governments to pass laws that make driving while talking on the phone illegal, even if the driver is on a hands-free device.

If such a law were passed, and a commercial driver is using a cell phone while in an accident, in certain cases the driver would be unable to collect workers’ compensation benefits.

In Nebraska, and in some other states, a law banning the use of cell phones could affect the ability of truckers to collect workers’ compensation. Continue reading