LEE'S SUMMIT, Mo. -- Truck drivers are learning making a call on their cell phones could cost them and their companies thousands of dollars. A ban on truck drivers using cell phones while behind the wheel is now in effect. They can still use hands-free devices and the CB radios.
Missouri truck drivers are just getting warnings for now. The grace period ends next week. The Missouri Highway Patrol is giving warnings until then.
We found one truck driving school where a cell phone isn't even allowed in the truck during training, hands-free or not. The Missouri Highway Patrol saw 677 fewer crashes in 2011 than in 20-10. They want that number to continue to fall and restricting cell phone use is one way.
"It is dangerous and we want to urge all motorists to make their call before they start driving," says Sgt. Collin Stosberg with the Missouri Highway Patrol.
Commercial truck and bus drivers are now breaking the law if they are holding the phone up to their ear. We went along with the Missouri Highway Patrol and in the span of an hour we didn't see any truck driver breaking the new law.
"It's not so much about getting caught, it's about the consequences afterwards of finding yourself in a crash," says Sgt. Collin Stosberg with the Missouri Highway Patrol.
A ban already in place at the KCK Truck Driving School. Shirley Williams is a truck driving instructor. She teaches this new rule of the roads.
"Anything that you do that takes you away from your focus on the road is a distraction," says Williams.
It is still legal for truck drivers to use the one way they have been communicating for decades.
"CB is strictly for communication," Williams said. "It's a safety mechanism. You can communicate with other drivers, other truck drivers."
The cell phone ban went into effect Tuesday, but the Missouri Highway Patrol will issue warnings until January 12. Truck drivers face a fine of $2,750 each time they are caught. Click here to learn more about the ban.