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Utility Drivers May Use Hands-Free Devices in Company Cars

Federal regulators have clarified the equipment covered by their recent ban on the use of hand-held mobile telephones by the drivers of vehicles owned by electric cooperatives and other utilities.  These drivers—in fact, all commercial motor vehicle oper
January 23, 2012

Federal regulators have clarified the equipment covered by their recent ban on the use of hand-held mobile telephones by the drivers of vehicles owned by electric cooperatives and other utilities.  These drivers—in fact, all commercial motor vehicle operators—can use push-to-talk mobile phones while behind the wheel, provided they do not "reach for, dial, or hold the actual mobile telephone … while driving," according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).  The driver must be able to touch the button needed to operate the push-to-talk feature from the normal seated position with his or her safety belt fastened.  The FMCSA had turned down a request by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) to exempt electric coops from its mobile phone rule through an emergency services exemption. Read more.

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