LOWNDES CO., GA (WALB) - As semis cruised up and down I-75 Wednesday, many of the drivers may not have been aware of the changing rules that were scheduled to take effect July 1st, and that's why the Department of Driver Services was trying Wednesday to get the word out.
In fact, the two drivers who spoke with WALB Wednesday had no idea about the new law which will require drivers to have their permits for at least 14 days before being allowed to take their road test.
Truck driver Clint Zanders agreed. "I think there needs to be some observing that needs to go on before they actually get out on the road," said Zanders.
Another part of the law makes it illegal for drivers to have any kind of wireless communication device in their hands while driving. "I do see some that are tryin' to use their phone while they're drivin'. That's a bad idea because I've seen first hand a guy tryin' to drive weaves from one side of the road to the other," Zanders pointed out.
A third part of the law also makes it illegal for drivers to reach for any wireless device while driving when reaching for the device requires them to get out of a seated position.
While these regulations may help make the roads a little safer, Zanders said passenger vehicles actually pose a bigger safety risk than the truck drivers using a phone or reaching for a device. "Cutting you off, slowing down right in front of you, comin' from the fast lane over to the get off ramp," Zanders said, emphasizing how passenger vehicles make driving a semi very dangerous.
House Bill 118, passed during the 2015 Session of the Georgia General Assembly, brings Georgia into compliance with new Federal mandates. On July 1, the law requires a learner's permit, and limits cellphone use while operating a commercial vehicle.
New drivers will have to have a CDL learner's permit for a minimum of 14 days before scheduling a CDL road test. They will be required to furnish documentation and pass a General Knowledge Test, and testing for any endorsements.
The learner's permit will be valid for six months and may be renewed one time for an additional six months.
Here are the regs for using a mobile phone for commercial drivers-
No person shall operate a commercial motor vehicle on any public road or highway of this state while:
· Holding a wireless telecommunications device to conduct a voice communication;
· Using more than a single button on a wireless telecommunications device to initiate or terminate a voice communication; or
· Reaching for a wireless telecommunications device in such a manner that requires the driver to maneuver so that he or she is no longer in a seated driving position properly restrained by a safety belt.