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Exempting truck drivers from ban on cellphone use

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Exemtping truck drivers from ban?

I was recently made aware that the Ontario and Manitoba Trucking Associations are trying to convince regulators in their respective provinces to exempt CB radios and certain communication devices used specifically by truck drivers for dispatch and business-related purposes from the provincial bans on cellphone use and texting while driving that are to come into force this fall.

They are stressing the importance of exempting certain electronic devices such as GPS systems, radio and push-to-talk functions on communication devices that truckers often use while on the job. They state that these communication systems are necessary for the safe and efficient operation of trucks. In addition, the trucking groups said a blanket ban will impede a carrier’s ability to remain in contact with their drivers while on the road.

That may be well and true… but aren’t truck drivers driven to distraction when they talk on radio and push-to-talk functions on communication devices while driving as other drivers? Shouldn’t safety be the priority for them as well? Can truck drivers multi-task better than other drivers?

Yosie Saint-Cyr

Human Resources and Compliance Managing Editor

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Yosie Saint-Cyr

Managing Editor at First Reference Inc.
Yosie Saint-Cyr, LL.B., is a trained lawyer called to the Quebec bar in 1988 and is still a member in good standing. She practiced business, employment and labour law until 1999. For over 15 years, Yosie has been the Managing Editor of the following publications, Human Resources Advisor, Human Resources PolicyPro, HRinfodesk and Accessibility Standards PolicyPro from First Reference. Yosie is one of Canada’s best known and most respected HR authors, with an extensive background in employment and labour across the country. Read more
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4 thoughts on “Exempting truck drivers from ban on cellphone use
  • Lesley says:

    I think common sense should apply here, as in all situations.

    If they are going to ban cell phone use, then ban them – whatever. We got along forever without having to talk on the phone while driving.

    CB radios on the other hand, have been used for decades by truck drivers and have not, to my knowledge, caused havoc on the roads.

    I do not think the majority of problems on the road are caused by truck drivers; although if one is involved in an incident or near incident with a truck it is certainly unnerving.

    I see far more incidents of people in their cars and SUVs whipping in and out of lanes, cutting off other drivers (including trucks) follwing too close, driving in blind spots, texting and drinking a coffee and reading the paper while driving etc.

    Sure there are some bad truckers, but typically they are far better and more responsible drivers.

  • David Hall says:

    Drivers are drivers. Distractions are distractions. The law should apply equally to all.

    As an example I was nearly driven off the road yesterday on the QEW outside Hamilton by a transport truck that drifted into my lane. When I got up close to see the driver, he was fumbling through papers while on his cell phone.

    Trucking companies can track the location of their drivers by GPS or by scheduling times when drivers are required to call dispatch when they aren’t driving. That’s what they did where my brother drove commercial trucks.

    Just some thoughts from my initial reaction.

  • Yosie says:

    Since the posting of this blog, Manitoba and Ontario legislators have accepted appeals by the trucking industry to make the provincial ban on cell phone use and texting while driving more flexible for truck drivers.

    Manitoba announced that their new legislation banning the use of cellphones while driving will be proclaimed into law within the first half of 2010 and striclty enforced by next summer. Ontario proclaimed their ban and it will come into force October 26 with a 3 month transition period for strict enforcement. However, I am still waiting to see the regulations and the language of these exemptions.

  • Rosa Barbera says:

    I feel that everyone should be treated equal when it comes to cell phone laws. Truck drivers are actually more dangerous drivers when they are using a cell phone. I have driven next to them and behind them while they are using a cell phone and believe me it was no picnic. I had to speed out of the way to not get hit by their distracted driving.