Truck Accidents Caused by Distracted Driving
According to statistics from Distraction.gov, when a driver takes his or her eyes off the road to send a text, it is the equivalent of driving the distance of a football field blindfolded. When the vehicle being driven is an 18-wheeler that weighs up to 80,000 pounds, and the driver’s attention is not on the road, it can leave a trail of devastation in its wake if it hits another vehicle. Unfortunately, distracted driving is a frequent problem in the trucking industry, even though the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association (FMCSA) has prohibited the use of handheld electronic devices while driving. Many devastating truck accidents can be avoided if truck drivers make safety a priority and avoid distracting behavior.
Types of Distracted Behavior
While talking and texting are the biggest culprits, there are other behaviors that distract a truck driver’s attention from where it needs to be, which is on the road ahead. The following are common types of driver distractions:
- Texting and talking on a smartphone
- Eating and drinking
- Brushing hair or putting on makeup
- Checking a map or navigation system
- Watching videos
Effective October 2010, commercial truck drivers were prohibited by the FMCSA to text while driving. In January 2012, the FMCSA banned the use of cell phones by interstate truck drivers, intrastate HAZMAT truck drivers, and bus drivers. These laws were put into place to reduce the number of distracted driving-related truck accidents. The ruling specifically applies to commercial trucks with a gross vehicle weight of 10,000 pounds or more. The ruling states the following:
- Drivers are prohibited from holding, dialing, or reaching for their cell phone while driving.
- Drivers may only use their cell phone when they have pulled the vehicle to the side of the road or another location where they can come to a complete stop.
- Drivers may use an earpiece, or other hands-free device.
- If a driver fails to obey these rules, he or she will face fines up to $2,750 for each offense.
Truck Drivers and Cell Phone Use are a Dangerous Combination
- Truck drivers who are texting or using their cell phone while driving are 23.2 times more likely to be involved in an accident.
- When reaching for something in the cab, truck drivers are three times more likely to be involved in a truck accident.
- When placing a call on a hand-held device while driving, truck drivers increase the likelihood of being in an accident by 600 percent.
- The average text takes a truck driver’s attention off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds.
If a truck driver’s distracted driving causes an accident involving a passenger vehicle, and the occupants of the vehicle are seriously injured, the truck driver may be held legally responsible. Depending on the details of the accident, the truck company that employs the driver may also be held liable. For example, if the company encouraged distracted driving, or failed to put a policy in place that prohibits distracted driving, the company may be responsible for the injuries, as well as any property damage.
Baltimore Truck Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Represent Victims of Distracted Driving Accidents
If you have been seriously injured in a truck accident involving a distracted driver, do not hesitate to contact the Baltimore truck accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. These devastating accidents are avoidable if truck drivers keep their attention on the road ahead. We will seek the maximum financial compensation you deserve for your injuries and ensure that your legal rights are protected. To schedule a free consultation, call us at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.
Our offices are located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Towson, allowing us to represent truck accident victims in Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Prince George’s County, Queen Anne’s County, Southern Maryland, and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.