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
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.