At the end of January, FMCSA announced that 5 new texting and cell phone violations were being added to the Unsafe Driving BASIC. Since the FMCSA decided to ban commercial drivers from using mobile devices while driving on January 3rd, it is no surprise that subsequent changes were made by the CSA Safety Measurement System (SMS). What did surprise me was the severity weight these violations received.
According to the CSA SMS a severity weight "reflects the relative importance of each violation in the BASIC". Would you expect these violations-all grouped as dangerous driving-to have higher or lower severity weights than texting or talking on the phone?
- Failure to yield right of way
- Improper turns
- Failure to obey a traffic device
- Following too close
- Improper lane change
- Improper passing
My guess is many people would say lower. But the reality is that the cell phone violations all receive a severity weight of 10, the highest possible, while those listed above all receive a 5.