Hand-Held Cell Phone Ban on Truck Drivers in PA

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LIBERTY TOWNSHIP -- While driving along Interstate 80, cars and tractor trailers share the roadway.

"It makes me a little nervous," Brenda Russell said.

But recently Pennsylvania added a law into its vehicle code that could make drivers a little less nervous. Commercial truck drivers are no longer allowed to use hand-held cell phones while driving.

The law went into effect nationally in 2012, but Pennsylvania added it to its traffic code on August 29.

Tractor trailer drivers Newswatch 16 spoke with, like Tom Gula of Freeland, agree with the law.

"I think it's a good thing. I mean, driving down the road, texting and talking on the phone is a bad thing. It takes everything off your mind," Gula said.

"I don't find anything wrong with truck drivers not being able to talk on the phone as long as we have hands-free devices. If you talk on the phone you're going to be very distracted," Harry Pitts said

Harry Pitts of Nashville, Tennessee uses a hands-free device if he needs to talk on the phone. But both truck drivers say they aren't the ones to blame when it comes to this issue.

"I see everybody. Little girls texting, driving, foot up on the dash," Gula said.

"What can you do? Nothing. All you can do is be careful and make sure you don't run over top of them," Pitts said.

Some people we spoke with who drive smaller vehicles say they're relieved to hear that truck drivers are no longer allowed to use hand-held cell phone devices while driving. They say it makes them feel safer on the roads.

"I think that's good. That way they pay more attention to what's going on in their surroundings and it makes you feel more comfortable," Russell said.

"If you're watching a movie at home and the phone rings, you miss the end of your movie because you think you're watching it but you're not. And that's the same way when you're driving," Lyle Proper said.

PennDOT says commercial truck drivers are allowed to use hand-held cell phones only if there is an emergency.


  • SomethinsCookin

    Another law that will never get enforced. Like using your headlights when its raining. Or using turn signals when changing lanes. Or staying in your lane in construction zones marked with white lines. Or turning on red when there’s a sign stating “no turn on red”.

    Everyone wants to be “me first”. No consideration for others. No compliance with the laws. Just stay out of their way.

    And when was the last time you saw a state cop doing something about this? Oh that’s right…they are busy reading the paper at construction zones.

  • Retired Trucker

    Distracted driving wasn’t a problem for truck drivers when CB radio was all the rage. These professionals were trained to multitask. The amateurs commuting to work and school were not. That hasn’t changed.

    Allowing all other motorists to use hand-held cell phones is ignoring the biggest part of this problem.

  • Franko

    I agree 100% with what Jody said — why are all these things legal for car drivers — I am a first responder and do you know how many car accidents there are out there that one of the factors involved with the crash was that the car driver was either texting or talking on the phone. And to Fred who said that most winter crashes have trucks involved — well first of all these it the weight factor with trucks. Look at how hard it is to control a car during bad weather, it is even worse with a tractor trailer. Now you might say that trucks shouldn’t be on the road when the weather is bad, but guess what, they are out on the road because all of us stupid consumers what the stuff we are looking to buy on the shelves when we walk into a store, we don’t want to be told that the product isn’t there because of the weather. And if you do the research, though too many people won’t bother to look it up and instead believe all the stupid lawyer commercials, you will find out that something like 75% of all truck-car accidents actually get proven to be the fault of the car driver themselves.

  • James

    I hope the law makers are ready for more accidents. I been driving tractor trailers for fifteen years. And one thing that keeps me awake when the radio and rolling down the window doesn’t work. Is talking to a friend on the phone. I use an ear piece for safety. I know that this is going to have a bigger impact on the trucking industry. But it is going to be bad thing. And I hope the law makers can sleep at night when it blows up in their face.

  • Melissa

    I am terrified of big trucks they send me into a panic anyway i look at, driver on a phone or not. Go figure my husband drives a tractor trailer. I think that that this law should be for everyone who operates any kind of vehicle.

  • Jody

    Why is it not ok for truck drivers to be on cell phones, but it’s ok for people in cars? I drive truck and have cars drifting into my lane almost hitting me every day because of people driving cars are on the phone, plus they don’t use turn signals which last I knew was a law.

    • Ryan

      I always see people flying off of the ramps right into the path of truck drivers, I feel bad that you normally have to stay in the right lane. I try to stay in the left lane so Speedy Gonzales don’t fly on and kill me. People apparently don’t realize you can’t stop on the drop of a dime, and if you could your load would shift and kill you because of them.

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