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Telecommunications in Trucking: Part One

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In light of a federal crackdown on cell phone use by truck drivers, this week, I will research and report on the benefits of cell phone use by the professional trucking community for community, law enforcement purposes. In addition, the dangers of cell phone use by drivers will also be reported. Stay tuned this week for a continuation of this very important issue.

In the past, communication between truck drivers and dispatch was cumbersome at best. Long lines at payphones in truck stops were commonplace. A driver would get to the front of the line; call the trucking company, only to get a busy signal. After countless redialing, he or she would be told by dispatch to call back in an hour. Thus, the wait in line would once again, commence. Once the driver got his pickup and delivery information, neither the trucking company or driver heard from one another unless there was a mishap.

The cell phone and satellite has made communications more efficient. According to Manrodt, Kent and Parker, their study regarding efficiency in communications improved dramatically due to this technology (2003, p. 53). Through a self-response survey issued by researchers, trucking companies, shippers, receivers, and drivers were asked a series of questions about improvements in transport and delivery of freight through more efficient telecommunication devices, such as Qualcomm (Manrodt, Kent, Parker, 2003, p. 54). Researchers believed that delivery time would improve due to the fact that drivers did not have to stop as much to contact dispatch (54). With the use of satellite and cell phone technology, drivers would not have to wait in long lines at the payphone. The results demonstrated fewer accidents because drivers were not in as much of a hurry (Mandrodt, Parker, 2003, p. 55).

At the time of this study (2003), there showed a correlation of reduced truck-related accidents with improved telecommunications technology. What has changed from 2003 to today that has prompted the FMCSA to revisit the use of cell phones by professional truck drivers? Stay tuned for further coverage.


Manrodt, K., Kent, J., & Parker, R. (2003). Operational implications of mobile communications in the motor carrier industry.Transportation Journal, 42(3), 50-50. Retrieved from




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