BATON ROUGE, LA - Cellcontrol, a developer of distracted driving solutions, unveiled its solution to comply with Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) rulings banning use of hand-held devices by operators of interstate commercial motor vehicles (CMV) and hazardous material transportation vehicles. Cellcontrol, which has been broadly recognized as the leader in protecting fleets and families in passenger and light-duty vehicles, has now released a solution that prevents texting while driving, e-mailing, browsing and phone usage in Class A vehicles such as heavy trucks, buses, and other large vehicles.

This announcement coincides with the NTSB’s Attentive Driving Forum to be held tomorrow in Washington, D.C.; Cellcontrol has been selectively invited to participate in this event due to the Company’s consistent support of NTSB and DOT initiatives to stop texting while driving.

According to the company, Cellcontrol’s technology now includes four proprietary components that differentiate it from all other solutions: 1) the only standalone device supporting J1939 and J1708 standards that works with the vast majority of Class A vehicles; 2) the only certified support for the Brew-based texting and flip phones highly prevalent in CMV fleets; 3) powerful policy management and reporting tools that provide flexibility to fleet and safety managers for creating groups for phone restriction policies; and 4) a patent-pending non-pairing Bluetooth communication signal that is the only reliable method to automatically transmit vehicle operating data to the phone and immediately initiate blocking when driving. With these features, Cellcontrol delivers the first and only distracted driving solution for full compliance with DOT guidelines, NTSB recommendations, and FMCSA regulations.

Cellcontrol utilizes a vehicle's onboard computer to determine when a vehicle is moving and instantly blocks the use of a driver's cell phone, laptop computer, or other mobile device based on a company's distracted driving policy. Mobile phone functions that Cellcontrol prevents include phone, text, e-mail, Web, push-to-talk, games, and other distracting activities. Calling 911 is always allowed, and incoming texts, emails and calls are received but cannot be accessed or responded to while the vehicle is moving. In addition to preventing distracted driving, Cellcontrol also reports idle time, mileage, hard braking events, and speed for fleet managers who want to ensure their drivers are following correct company policies and safety procedures.

The FMCSA ruling allows for hands-free operation of a mobile phone, which Cellcontrol has supported since its inception. In a CMV, Cellcontrol provides protection against FMCSA violations and fines, which reach up to $13,750 per incident, and also dramatically reduces risk of accidents and the major costs associated with each crash of a CMV or hazardous material vehicle.

“Despite any claims to the contrary, other distracted driving solutions fall well short of full FMCSA compliance for many reasons, either because they simply audit behavior, which is after-the-fact, too late, and risky; they don’t offer hardware for Class A vehicles or feature phones; or they have critical Bluetooth pairing vulnerabilities,” said Chuck Cox, Senior Vice President at Cellcontrol. “And without the visibility and control provided by our management and reporting tools, fleet managers lose the access to information that is required actually enforce a solution. The final piece for broad FMCSA support is that only Cellcontrol works on the many flip phones popular in fleets, where the burden of smart-phone monthly expenses is not wanted.”

Federal Rule to Prevent Distracted Driving

On December 2, 2011, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced a final rule specifically prohibiting interstate truck and bus drivers from using hand-held cell phones while operating their vehicles. The joint rule from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) is the latest action by the U.S. Department of Transportation to end distracted driving. This ruling went into effect on January 3, 2012, and is now being heavily enforced.

NTSB Attentive Driving Forum

The NTSB is hosting a public Attentive Driving Forum at the NTSB Conference Center in Washington DC on March 27, 2012. According to the NTSB, “distracted driving is a serious safety risk on our highways as evidenced by both accident data and laboratory research. The purpose of this one-day forum is to examine countermeasures that can mitigate distracted driving behaviors. Forum panels will consider the findings of distracted driver research and will promote ongoing and future efforts to promote attentive driving and eliminate distracted driving accidents. Specific countermeasures to be addressed include distracted driving laws and enforcement, changing attitudes and behaviors through education and outreach, and technology and design countermeasures.”