Many Distractions May Cause Truck Drivers to Injure Other Motorists

Distracted truck drivers can cause catastrophic traffic accidentsDistracted driving is a huge problem in our country. We live at a fast pace, using every means available to do as much as we can. Some people believe they can drive and also eat, apply makeup, text, and do other activities in their vehicles, even though navigating roadways and being aware of other drivers should be their main focus.

Long-haul truck drivers also try to accomplish a variety of tasks from their cabs, but this is dangerous behavior while driving an 80,000-pound vehicle. Truckers and other motorists suffer major consequences as a result of large truck accidents, including serious injuries or death.

According to studies by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), 71 percent of truck accidents happen while drivers are doing something else. The research indicated:

  • Texting while driving is 23 times more likely to cause an accident.
  • Using dispatching devices—mobile or portable data terminals—increased the risk of a crash by nine times.
  • Making a call on a hand-held cellphone increased the chances of an accident by three times.
  • Reading a map while driving is seven times more likely to cause a crash.

FMCSA Rules Regarding Cellphone Use While Driving

Regulations established by the FMCSA and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration prohibit truckers from texting or using a handheld cellphone while driving. Specifically, large truck drivers aren't allowed to…

  • Manually enter a text using an electronic device
  • Read a text
  • Use a short message service, emailing, or instant messaging
  • Request access to a web page
  • Press more than one button to initiate or end cell phone communication
  • Hold a cellphone to make a call

Truck drivers who violate this rule risk a fine of $2,750 and the loss of their commercial licenses. Trucking companies that encourage this dangerous practice could be assessed civil penalties of up to $11,000.

Other Ways Truckers Engage in Distracted Driving

There are many other distractions that take a trucker’s mind off his driving. These may include:

  • Using a dispatching device
  • Driving while fatigued
  • Health issues
  • Reading a map
  • Fiddling with a GPS
  • Writing notes
  • Reading a newspaper, book, map, or paperwork
  • Engaging in personal grooming
  • Eating and drinking
  • Smoking
  • Reaching for an object
  • Using a calculator
  • Selecting music on the radio or an electronic device
  • Looking at things outside of the cab

Proving Trucker Distraction Caused Your Crash

In order to obtain the compensation you deserve, you must prove the trucker’s negligence caused your accident. Proving distraction isn't easy, so you might need to gather evidence from many sources. Some helpful evidence might be:

  • In-cab video footage that shows the trucker doing something other than driving.
  • Nearby surveillance tapes that reveal what the trucker was doing in the seconds leading up to the crash.
  • Dispatch device or cellphone records that demonstrate the trucker was using one of these devices.
  • Police reports listing witnesses or other evidence to establish distracted driving as the cause of the crash.
  • Witness statements from people who observed how the accident occurred or what the trucker was doing right before it happened.
  • Accident reconstruction expert opinion that distracted driving caused or contributed to the wreck.
  • Distraction admission by the truck driver either at the scene of the crash or during his deposition.
  • Other truck company records that establish what the trucker was doing at the time of the wreck.

Let Our Firm Help You

If you or a loved one was injured in a large truck accident, keep in mind that the driver and trucking company will not voluntarily surrender information you need to prove distracted driving. Some evidence—such as surveillance tapes and in-cab footage—could be taped over or destroyed if you do not obtain it quickly. Let Chris Hudson and his experienced team help obtain evidence and determine if you deserve fair compensation. We serve Georgia and South Carolina from our office in Augusta. Call 706-863-6600 to schedule a free case analysis.