Distracted Driving

Truck Accidents Caused by Distracted Driving

Studies estimate that 15% of accidents are caused by distracted driving. Since distraction is a choice, truckers have no excuse when they cause a crash by their inattention, and they must be held accountable for their actions. 

A fully loaded 18-wheeler can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, while an average passenger car weighs about 4,100 pounds, making a semi-truck almost 20 times the size of a standard vehicle. Given the huge disparity in size between the two vehicles, it is no wonder that in fatal two-vehicle crashes involving passenger vehicles and a large truck, 97 percent of the deaths were occupants of the passenger vehicles.

The serious risk of harm posed by commercial trucks highlights the need for commercial operators to exercise extreme care while operating on public roadways. If you have been injured in a commercial vehicle accident, it is important to have the accident investigated to determine whether the trucker was distracted at the time of the crash. Our attorneys are known as some of the best truck accident attorneys in Texas and can help you recover full compensation under the law.

Contact us to learn how our truck accident attorneys can help you recover compensation for your injuries and why our trucking firm is trusted by clients and attorneys nationwide.

FREQUENTLY Asked Questions

  • Are truck drivers allowed to use their phones while driving?

    In addition to state laws applicable to operating a motor vehicle while driving, commercial truck drivers are strictly prohibited from using their phones while operating a commercial vehicle.

    The regulations specifically prohibit:

    • Using at least one hand to hold a mobile phone to make a call;
    • Dialing a mobile phone by pressing more than a single button; or
    • Reaching for a mobile phone in a manner that requires a driver to maneuver so that he or she is no longer in a seated driving position, restrained by a seat belt.

    In short, a commercial operator should never be reaching, holding, dialing, texting, or reading from their mobile device at any time while operating a commercial vehicle.

  • How do you know if a truck driver was using their phone prior to a crash?

    Following a crash, officers may not know whether a truck driver was using a phone prior to the crash. However, this information can be determined during the litigation process. After filing a lawsuit, truck accident attorneys can request documents from the trucker and the motor carrier relevant to the crash. This often includes cell phone records in the moments leading up to the crash. If cell records indicate the driver was streaming, surfing, texting, calling, or engaged in any other activity while operating the commercial vehicle, these actions can be used as evidence that the truck driver was distracted and caused the crash.

  • Is a truck driver automatically responsible for an accident if they were on their phone?

    To recover compensation in a personal injury lawsuit, you must establish the cause of the accident. When phone use is involved, the question becomes whether the phone use caused or contributed to the cause of the crash. There is an abundance of safety research on the dangers of phone use, and evidence of phone use before a crash is strong evidence that the driver was distracted and that such distraction caused and/or contributed to the crash

Cell Phone Use And Other Distractions Are Not Allowed While Operating A Commercial Vehicle

Truck drivers routinely engage in long-haul trips that take them on the road for days. However, this does not justify a commercial operator disengaging from safe, focused driving. A commercial operator must practice safe driving practices and avoid activities that increase the likelihood of accidents. A recent study by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration highlights the risks of distracted driving.

According to FMCSA research, a commercial operator texting while driving is 23.2 times more likely to be involved in a safety-critical event (e.g., crash, near-crash, unintentional lane deviation). On average, an operator sending a text takes their eyes off the road for 4.6 seconds—at 55 MPH, a truck would travel nearly the length of a football field. Given the serious harm that can occur in that amount of time, it is no surprise that cell phone use is strictly prohibited.

In addition to state and local laws regarding cell phone use, the FMCSA has promulgated clear guidelines regarding the use of cell phones while driving: “No driver may use a hand-held mobile telephone or engage in texting while driving a CMV.” This includes:

  • Holding a cell phone to make a telephone call
  • Reaching for a cell phone in a way that results in the trucker not remaining upright while driving
  • Drafting or typing a message on a cell phone
  • Reading a text or other electronic message

Use of a cell phone is strictly enforced and may result in severe penalties, such as fines up to $2,750 and driver disqualification.

In addition to cell phone use, there are many ways a trucker may engage in distracted driving. Some of the common examples include:

  • Eating and drinking
  • Reading a map or a GPS
  • Engaging in personal grooming
  • Adjusting the radio or other instrument controls
  • Watching a video
  • Talking to co-drivers

Regardless of the cause of the truck crash, distracted driving is strictly prohibited, and truckers and their companies may be liable for any accident caused by such negligent behavior.

Contact Our Truck Accident Lawyers to Help You Recover

The trucking industry has gained great notoriety in the last couple of decades due to steady increases in accidents caused by an abundance of careless truck drivers. It is estimated that by 2030, truck accidents will become the fifth largest cause of death in the United States. To curb this endemic, commercial operators must refrain from distracted driving and devote all attention to driving safely. Commercial trucking companies are the first line of defense to enforcing safe driving practices, and under Texas law, are ultimately responsible for the actions of their drivers.

If you have been injured in a truck accident, it is important to have your accident investigated to determine if distracted driving was a contributing factor to the crash. Trained lawyers can gather the information needed to determine the driver’s actions immediately before the crash and prove the accident was caused by driver inattention. Our lawyers are known as some of the best truck accident attorneys in Texas and can help you recover compensation after a crash.

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