DOT Safety Regulation Update Fast-Fax™
Week of July 11, 2011
Foley Services Your Single Source for DOT Compliance
The Department of Transportation claimed a significant victory in its war against distracted driving. Pilot programs in Hartford and Syracuse were hailed as overwhelming successes.
Drivers nationwide will have to get used to another roadside slogan; the Department of Transportation has announced that its “Phone in One Hand, Ticket in the Other” anti-distracted driving campaign has been a major success in its pilot phase.
Ray LaHood, the Secretary of Transportation, has made distracted driving somewhat of a cause-célèbre during his tenure as the head of the department. It was LaHood who announced that the two pilot programs, Hartford, Connecticut, and Syracuse, New York, had achieved successful results.
As with similar ‘slogan campaigns’ such as “Click-It or Ticket” — the seat belt safety campaign — and “Over the Influence Under Arrest” — the anti-drunk driving campaign — Syracuse and Hartford mixed education with enforcement. Both cities were blanketed with advertisements — on billboards, busses and the airwaves — warning of the dire consequences of distracted driving. This was followed up with a strict enforcement policy.
A one-year study of the program revealed that the rate of electronic devices in use while driving dropped significantly in both pilot cities. LaHood was overflowing with praise for both cities.
Over the last 12 months, Syracuse showed an overall decrease of 32 percent in both handheld phone use and texting. Hartford showed an “even more impressive” 57 percent decline in handheld phone use and a “stunning” 72 percent drop in texting behind the wheel.
The programs, which although municipal, are largely funded by grants from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), a branch of the Federal DOT. NHTSA, pleased with the results is planning on expanding the pilot program statewide.
For Connecticut, that will be a relatively minor affair; given the size of the state, much of the population lives within the Hartford metropolitan area anyway. For New York that will, obviously, be a much larger endeavour. Exact plans were not forthcoming at this juncture, however, it is safe to assume the programs will follow the same blueprint.
Beyond New York and Connecticut, NHTSA has expressed interest in expanding the program and the grants to other states with anti-distracted driving laws. As always, Fast-Fax will keep you up to date with any changes in laws and regulations regarding this matter.
Below is an overview of the states with Distracted Driving Laws. Note in many states bans are not blanket and vary based on license type and driver age. There are also a number of municipalities with their own laws. Consult with your local enforcement officials before using a cellphone while driving.
Of course, for commercial motor vehicle operators, Federal Regulations already ban texting while driving as well as hand-held cellphone usage.
FMCSA Alerts Carriers About Shady Marketing Tactics. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued a bulletin this week clarifying reasonable-suspicion training requirements and alerting carriers about aggressive marketing techniques being used by some training companies. In the notice, FMCSA reminded carriers that the agency does not certify or approve trainers, training companies or curriculum.
If you have any questions about supervisor reasonable-suspicion training or any other aspect of your DOT drug and alcohol testing program, please call a Foley compliance specialist at 800- 253-5506, ext. 0869.
Go to www.FoleyServicesBlog.com for more information about this story.
Editor: Roxanne Swidrak, Vice President, Operations • 1-800-253-5506 • www.FoleyServices.com • Vol. 111, No. 695 • © Foley Carrier Services, LLC. 2011