By Charlie Morasch
As of mid-July, the FMCSA hadn’t issued a response to a request for guidance from the Arizona Department of Transportation regarding that state’s interpretation of a federal reg banning TV screens.
Gerald Cook – an OOIDA member from Amarillo, TX – was cited for having a laptop mounted near his driver’s seat in late May under Section 393.88 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. Cook was told by an Arizona DOT officer the ticket could cost him $450. Cook has pleaded not guilty and is fighting the citation in court.
Section 393.88 prohibits screens that can receive television broadcasts within view of a commercial driver’s seat.
In the meantime, the Arizona DOT has suspended writing citations against drivers with laptops near their driver’s seats and has requested guidance from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
Cook’s story sparked an outcry among OOIDA members and Land Line readers, many of whom use laptops for mapping and logbook software, including voice-activated mapping software.
The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance was scheduled to address the issue of laptop computers in cabs of big trucks at its September conference in Winnipeg, but the Arizona DOT’s request for a legal interpretation and other confusion about the rule has magnified the importance of the issue, CVSA Executive Director Stephen Campbell told Land Line in June. LL