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. 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. For now, the law remains unchanged.
It is important to remember that most trucking companies already set limits on the use of phones, and that texting and the use of hand-held phones are banned by almost all companies. That said, the use of hands-free devices is permitted in many cases. The NTSB released their recommendation after investigating a deadly crash where the driver and 10 other people were killed. The driver was using a phone at the time of the crash, and while he had a hands-free device, nobody knows whether he was using it at the time of the crash.
In this video coverage by News KRDO in Colorado Springs, CO, citizens share a range of opinions on the ban:
Rod Rehm is the founder of Rehm, Bennett & Moore, P.C., L.L.O., which serves clients in Nebraska and Iowa. Over the past 38 years, Rehm Bennett & Moore has served individuals throughout the Nebraska communities in the legal areas of personal injury, workers’ compensation, employment law, FELA, and Social Security Disability. Rod Rehm has been practicing law for nearly 40 years and is Director for the Nebraska Association of Trial Attorneys as well as Nebraska’s first representative to the ABA College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers.