How Texting While Driving Causes Truck Accidents
Posted on Saturday, January 1st, 2022 at 8:31 am
Drivers can exhibit a range of dangerous behaviors that increase the risk of an accident. However, many people don’t realize how dangerous distractions can be. Texting and driving are common types of distractions that can lead to motor vehicle collisions. When drivers don’t focus on the road ahead, they can’t see hazardous situations in their way and react quickly to avoid a crash.
Texting while driving is particularly dangerous for truck drivers. Operating an 80,000-pound truck while navigating around other vehicles requires attention. Focusing on sending or reading a text message prevents the trucker from noticing what’s happening around them.
Federal Regulations on Mobile Use for Truck Drivers
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations, any driver operating a commercial motor vehicle can only engage in texting or use a hand-held electronic device to communicate with a law enforcement agency or another type of emergency service.
While operating a commercial motor vehicle with the motor running, including while remaining stationary due to traffic, a traffic control device, or another momentary delay, truck drivers are prohibited from engaging in these activities:
- Using a hand-held mobile telephone unless communicating with law enforcement or emergency service
- Texting and driving
Violation of this federal regulation can lead to a severe accident between a commercial truck and a passenger vehicle. The driver can also face penalties, such as an expensive fine. A second or third offense can lead to suspension of the commercial driver’s license.
Why Texting While Driving Causes Truck Accidents
Commercial trucks are massive and take up a lot of space on the road. Truck drivers must have the skills and licensing to maneuver around small cars, road hazards, and pedestrians. Traveling around sharp turns, over debris, and near school zones can turn deadly if the trucker doesn’t know what they’re doing.
Texting while driving adds another obstacle for truck drivers to overcome. Multi-tasking at the wheel is reckless. Focusing on two different tasks at once is impossible.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, reading or sending a text is similar to driving a vehicle 55 miles an hour with closed eyes. In the time it takes to send or read a text, a car can travel the length of a football field.
Even if a truck driver takes their eyes off the road for a couple of seconds, it’s enough time for the scenery in front of them to change without them noticing. A pedestrian could enter a crosswalk, or traffic could come to a standstill without warning. If the trucker isn’t looking in front of them, they likely won’t be able to maneuver out of the way to avoid a collision.
Common Injuries in Accidents Involving Commercial Trucks
Accidents caused by texting while driving often lead to severe or life-threatening injuries. The most common injuries in truck accidents include:
- Internal bleeding
- Traumatic injury
- Spinal cord damage
- Psychological or emotional trauma
- Loss of limb or amputation injury
- Significant scarring or disfigurement
- Broken bones
Some injuries are permanent and have long-lasting effects on physical and mental health. If you don’t recover, you could receive expensive bills for ongoing treatment and household assistance. Many people can’t afford the costs associated with truck accidents and face massive debt. The negligent truck driver should be liable for the crash, so you’re not forced to pay out of pocket for your expenses.
Proving Fault in a Texting and Driving Accident Case
It’s vital to hire a truck accident lawyer immediately after the crash. An investigation into the accident should follow to determine fault. It can be a challenge to prove the truck driver texted while driving. Showing that their negligent behavior contributed to the accident requires evidence, such as:
- Eyewitness testimony – Another driver or passengers in other vehicles might have seen the trucker texting at the wheel. They could testify in court if you file a lawsuit or provide a statement to the investigating officer at the scene.
- Cell phone records – Cell phone records could be valuable evidence in a texting while driving accident case. If the documentation shows the truck driver was using their phone prior to the accident, it could indicate they weren’t focused on the task at hand.
- Event data recorder – Motor carriers install event data recorders in their commercial trucks. It records and stores data about truck drivers’ actions and other information regarding the vehicle’s movements. The data might show the trucker never applied their brakes. If so, that could prove they were distracted and didn’t notice another vehicle in their path.
- Traffic camera footage – Traffic cameras are everywhere. Securing the footage could show the trucker’s behavior before the crash. The camera might have recorded the trucker looking down at their cell phone in the moments leading up to the accident.
If you were injured in a truck accident caused by a truck driver who was texting while driving, do not hesitate to contact Lawrence & Associates Accident and Injury Lawyers, LLC. We fight hard for accident victims and aim to provide quality legal representation and service to every client.