To be compliant with new federal rules, the Georgia Department of Driver Services is making procedural changes next month for commercial drivers, limiting cell phone use while driving and enacting new road testing requirements.
As part of House Bill 118, which takes effect July 1, the new commercial vehicle restrictions prohibit holding a wireless device while driving; using more than a single button on a wireless telecommunications device to start or end a call; or reaching for a wireless device “in a manner that requires the driver to maneuver so that he or she is no longer in a seated driving position.”
Kristy Burgess, general manager of RWH Trucking in Oakwood, said her company has been in compliance with these rules for quite some time.
The steering wheels of RWH Trucking are equipped with buttons that allow drivers to communicate through the vehicle’s speakers without having to pick up their phones.
Burgess feels the regulations are a positive.
“Truck driving requires 110-percent focus,” Burgess said. “Even two seconds of taking your eye off the road can lead to a fatal accident.”
The testing procedure changes for commercial drivers include the following: Commercial driver’s license holders must hold a CDL learner’s permit for a minimum of 14 days before scheduling a CDL road test; learning permits are obtained by providing all previously required documentation and passing a General Knowledge Test; the learner’s permit will be valid for 180 days and may be renewed for an additional six months.
And finally, upon expiration of the second 180-day term, the permit holder “shall upgrade to a commercial driver’s license after the appropriate vehicle testing.”