Making the Road a Safer Place

Truck drivers are essential to businesses and economic growth.  The roads they drive can be dangerous, with the bulk of responsibility for offensive driving on them.  Aggressive measures have been taken by legislators and law enforcement to reduce distracted auto drivers and now they are focusing on commercial drivers as well.  New laws aimed at commercial drivers took effect on October 28, 2013 prohibiting hand held devices from being used while the vehicle is in motion, or even stopped in traffic. Such rules affect logistics and transportation companies that use such devices for scanning packages and tracking their delivery routes.

In the Business First article, “Truckers, beware: Tougher safety regs,” Michael Perley, senior member at Hurwitz & Fine, is quoted, “I think it [tougher laws] raises the perception that truck drivers are less responsible on the road when, in fact, they are more responsible. The reality is, when a large, commercial vehicle gets into an accident, it is often more noteworthy. They get the news attention. And when you have that news attention, you get all of this.” In Perley’s eyes, the Wallace-Stratton tragedy is not the norm and he doesn’t want all truck drivers to be vilified.

Alternatively, Mary Beth DePasquale, a criminal defense attorney at Tully Rinckey PLLC, expects the rules to be effective against distracted driving, and understands that these rules make the roads safer, but she’s unsettled by the language of the law, especially the use of the term “conspicuous use” of a phone while driving. Such language can be played with in the court of law. While DePasquale supports the new rules, she seems to suggest that we need analyze the language of the laws and not the laws themselves.

Regardless of opinion regarding the rules, they are in effect and businesses that use commercial drivers for transport of goods and services must take them into consideration.


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