When any driver takes their eyes off the road, the result can be disastrous. Truck drivers are not immune from distracted driving and it accounts for a significant amount of trucking accidents every year.
Any activity that diverts a motorist’s attention away from the task of driving, can increase the likelihood and severity of an accident. In fact, distracted driving is one of the leading causes of fatal crashes in the United States and results in more than 3,000 deaths per year. Based on data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 10 percent of all fatal crashes and 18 percent of all injury crashes involve distracted driving. While distracted driving is a serious issue for all drivers, distracted truckers can cause major accidents due to the size and weight of their vehicles.
If you or a loved one was involved in an accident with a distracted trucker, contact our Houston trucking accident lawyers at The Krist Law Firm, P.C. today at 281-283-8500 > to find out how we can help you recover compensation for your losses.
Distracted Truckers Can Cause Serious Accidents
Because truckers spend a significant amount of time in their cab, they are especially prone to distractions inside and outside of their vehicles. In a 2009 study, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) found that 71 percent of large truck crashes involve a distracted trucker. When truckers drive while distracted, the consequences can be especially disastrous.
Distracted truckers are not only a threat to themselves, they endanger everyone else on the road. Given the large size and weight differences between trucks and smaller passenger cars, injuries in large truck crashes are often severe. These may include:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Broken bones
- Severed limbs
- A crushed chest or extremities
- Spinal cord and back injuries
- Muscle injuries and ligament tears
- Serious lacerations
Common Types of Distractions
Distractions generally fall into three categories–visual, manual, or cognitive. Visual involves taking your eyes off the road. Manual means taking your hands off the wheel and cognitive is anything that takes your mind off the task of driving.
The most common types of distraction include:
- Reaching for a fallen object
- Cell phone use
- Eating or drinking
- Personal grooming
- Reading a map
- Using in-vehicle technologies such as a navigation system or dispatching device
- Watching a DVD or video
- Adjusting the radio or climate controls, changing CDs, or using an MP3 player
- Talking with passengers
- Looking at billboards, accidents, or other objects outside of the vehicle
FMCSA Rules Restricting Mobile Phone Use
One of the biggest sources of distracted driving among truckers is cell phone use. Under FMSCA rules, it is illegal for commercial truck drivers to use a hand-held cell phone while driving. The rule restricts truck drivers from:
- Using at least one hand to hold a cell phone to make a call
- Dialing a cell phone
- Reaching for a cell phone in such a way that requires the driver to no longer be seated or wear a seat belt
In order to be in compliance with the FMCSA rule, truck drivers must use hands-free features such as voice-activated dialing, earpiece, or speakerphone.
Texting While Driving
Commercial truck drivers are also prohibited from writing or sending a text while driving. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), texting while driving is one of the most dangerous activities because it involves cognitive, visual, and manual distraction. Truckers who text while driving are 23 times more likely to be involved in a crash than an undistracted driver.
Drivers take their eyes off the road for an average 4.6 seconds to write or send a text message, which is the equivalent of driving the entire length of a football field at 55 mph while blindfolded. Despite the well-documented risks and laws against texting and driving, it continues to be a major factor in large truck crashes.
Even more alarming is recent research by Texas A&M University indicating that voice-to-text technology is not much safer than manual texting. Regardless of whether the driver is using voice-to-text technology or manually texting, it leads to delayed reaction times, more time looking away from the road, and poor driving performance.
Contact Our Attorneys for Distracted Driving Cases
If you have been injured in a truck accident and believe that distraction may have been a contributing factor, contact The Krist Law Firm, P.C. right away to discuss your case. Our Houston truck accident attorneys have over 27 years of experience handling truck accident cases and understand what it takes to investigate crashes involving large commercial 18- wheelers and tractor-trailers.
We have the resources to investigate your truck accident and determine who is responsible for your injuries. We know the types of evidence required to support a claim for compensation and will aggressively advocate on your behalf from investigation to trial. We have recovered millions of dollars in truck accident cases throughout Texas and we will fight for the maximum compensation possible for your injuries.
To find out more about how we can help, call us today at 281-283-8500 for a free case evaluation at no-risk to you. We charge no fees unless we recover compensation for your injuries.