Wednesday, January 27, 2010 by
On January 26, 2010, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced federal guidance expressly prohibiting texting by drivers of commercial motor vehicles. The announcement was followed by publication in the Federal Register on January 27, 2010, of regulatory guidance issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration interpreting section 390.17 of the motor carrier regulations to prohibit drivers from texting while driving a commercial motor vehicle. That section of the motor carrier regulations generally allows use of additional equipment or accessories, but prohibits the use of any such equipment or accessory that decreases the safety of operation of commercial motor vehicles. Since the ban against texting takes the form of an interpretation of an existing regulation, the ban is not subject to notice and comment rule making and is effective as of January 27, 2010.