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Truck Accident Causes Part 3: Semi-Truck Crashes and Distracted Driving

Posted On March 13, 2017 In Truck Accidents

Distracted driving may cause truck accidentsCommercial truckers who are not paying attention to the road are risking their lives and the lives of others. We commonly associate distracted driving with passenger vehicles, but it is also common among commercial drivers. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has strict regulations that limit mobile phone use by truckers. These regulations are designed to prevent semi-truck crashes. Penalties for breaking these regulations are harsh.

  • FMCSA rules restrict commercial truckers from sending or reading text messages or emails while driving. These rules are broad, and cover electronic devices such as cell phones, PDAs, pagers, laptops or any other device used to input, write, send or receive text messages.
  • Drivers cannot browse the internet (such as Facebook or any other social media websites).
  • Drivers can only press a single button to terminate phone calls.

The fines and penalties for breaking these rules vary. Commercial drivers may have their CDL disqualified for 60 days for two offenses within three years. They may have their CDL disqualified for 120 days for three offenses within three years. Fines for individual drivers can reach $2,750 per offense. Commercial motor carriers who allow drivers to use mobile devices can face fines of up to $11,000. The There are exceptions to these rules. For example, if it is necessary to contact law enforcement or emergency services.

The reason why penalties are steep is because distracted driving is far more dangerous for large commercial vehicles. A fully loaded truck can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, multiple times more than your average passenger vehicle. The FMCSA released the following stats on distracted driving:

  • Commercial drivers are three times more likely to be involved in a crash while reaching for a mobile phone.
  • Truckers who text and drive are 23.2 times more likely to deviate from their lanes, or cause accidents or near-accidents.
  • Truckers dialing a phone number are six times more likely to cause an accident.

There is also the famous statistic released by the Department of Transportation. Drivers sending or reading texting take their eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds. At 55 miles per hours, this equates to 346 feet.

How Can an Attorney Help After a Semi-Truck Crash?

There are several ways a truck accident attorney could hold texting drivers or their employers accountable for causing a semi-truck crash. For example, an attorney may be able to find evidence that a trucker was texting or posting to social media at the time of an accident. Other forms of communication may show company policies encourage truckers to email or text while driving. Some accidents may be caught on camera. Skilled truck accident attorneys meticulously go through all available evidence to help your case succeed.

The Texas truck accident attorneys at Mike Love & Associates, LLC can help you hold negligent truckers and commercial carriers accountable for causing crashes.

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