New Law Prevents Truckers from Using Cell Phones

Augusta, GA: A lot of truck drivers think a new law preventing them from using cell phones might be targeted at the wrong group. Many truck drivers have been using hands-free devices for years.

But now, there are some pretty hefty fines if they answer their cell phone.

"I've really got mixed feelings on it," Josh Daniels tells News 12. Daniels drives a big rig for J.B. Hunt, and he isn't so sure about this new law.

He says: "We're out here on the road 10-11 hours a day. Myself, I've got three kids and one due any time. Staying in touch with home's important."

And with the new law, drivers can only talk on a cell phone if they have a headset, or they're parked.

And the penalties for getting caught are no joke. The fine is $2,750 for the driver, $11,000 for the company, and drivers can lose their license for 60 days.

And drivers say the punishment just doesn't fit the crime.

"That's over a month's pay for a driver," Daniels says.

But a lot of drivers have been cell phone free in their trucks for years.

Robert Whitehead has been driving for Exchange Trucking Company for years, and he says: "If somebody calls me while I'm driving, I just let them leave a message, and I wait until the next time I can stop, because it's so dangerous."

James Crawford, a driver for J.B. Hunt, tells News 12: "If you're looking at your phone, it's worse than a DUI. Because you'll go down the road five minutes and not realize where you've been, or whose passed you."

Drivers say that cell phones are a problem for more than just truck drivers.

"Sometimes it gets real risky when I see people on cell phones and not paying attention to where they're driving. They're switching lanes," Whitehead tells News 12.

And you may fool a cop if you're on a cell phone, but not a truck driver. "Cause you can see people on phones from a truck. You get a better view," Whitehead says.

But even though they think the law should apply to everyone, Whitehead says: "I think real serious of my job, and I don't want to hurt nobody, and I don't want nobody to hurt me. So, I think it's a good law."

And this law applies to anyone with a commercial driver's license, not just truck drivers.

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