Truckers and Texting

Is it Illegal for Truck Drivers to Text and Use Cell Phones behind the Wheel?

5673573_mYes, it is against Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations for truck drivers to text or talk on a cell phone while driving, unless talking on a hands-free device, and it has been since October 27, 2010. Truck drivers and other driver of other commercial vehicles, may also be subject to state bans on texting and cell phone use while driving.

Commercial Vehicles

Truck drivers are not the only drivers affected by the texting ban. The rule applies to drivers of other types of commercial vehicles including:

  • Some nine to 15 passenger vehicles
  • Vehicles designed to carry more than 15 passengers (including the driver)
  • School buses, where the driver is employed by a non-government entity


A very meaningful part of the rule is the prohibition against motor carriers allowing or requiring their drivers to text or use a hand-held mobile phone while driving. When truck drivers and other drivers face pressure from their employers to break the law, they will often choose to take the risk over possibly losing their jobs. Holding motor carriers accountable can make the ban on distracted driving more effective.

Motor carriers that allow or require drivers to text or use hand-held mobile phones while driving can be subject to up to $11,000 in civil penalties.

Penalties for Commercial Drivers Who Text or Talk on the Phone

Drivers who break the rule can face civil penalties of up to $2,750. Multiple offenses can cause them to temporarily lose their licenses. Two convictions within a three year period will result in a 60 day disqualification and three or more offenses in a three year period results in disqualification of 120 days.