Distracted Truck Drivers and Truck Accidents
Driver distraction is a cause in many vehicular accidents. According to the United States Department of Transportation (DOT), over 500,000 of these each year involve large trucks operated by commercially employed drivers. These accidents can quite often be avoided because they occur when the driver is looking away from the road. Texting while driving is now prohibited by law, and for a good reason. Other distractions include using computers while operating the truck, as well as pets or other passengers in the vehicle.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has conducted a great deal of research on drivers who text. Texting drivers can travel the length of a football field without even looking at the road, and this is while moving at an average speed limit of 55 miles per hour. Truck drivers are also more than 20 times more likely than focused drivers to cause or be involved in an accident. The DOT prohibited drivers of commercial vehicles from texting in early 2010, with a stiff penalty of up to over $2,700 for those who do. Additionally, the FMCSA is seeking to implement more regulations against truck drivers who use other electronic devices such as laptop computers and mobile phones while driving.
No one, in any location, is immune from the devastating consequences of truck accidents. In March 2010, a semi-trailer driver's negligence injured four people in Elgin, Illinois; court records of the subsequent case showed he was texting, or otherwise using a cell phone, while speeding. This incident occurred on local streets, but interstate highways are all too often the scene of such tragedies, and reports of fatalities from similar incidents occur all the time. Around 5,000 people die each year at the hands of truck drivers, many of whom drive while distracted. Search the Internet for text-related truck accidents and you'll find a multitude of news reports and legal entities that deal with these matters.
Driver distraction is a major cause of vehicular accidents. Using a cell phone or texting is on top of the list, while eating, talking, and reading are other serious distractions. Any of these lead to lack of attention because the driver is not looking at the road, does not have their hands on the steering wheel, and is not concentrating on driving in the first place. It has been proven that using a cell phone behind the wheel is as dangerous as driving at the legal alcohol limit. Trucks are some of the heaviest vehicles on the roads, and it's no wonder that almost all truck-related accidents involve the death of an occupant of a passenger car. If you've been injured in such an accident or a loved one perished as a result, a truck accident lawyer will help you get compensation for such a careless act.
Trucking Info, "Trucking Statistics", http://www.truckinfo.net/trucking/stats.htm (accessed March 15, 2011).
United States Department of Transportation, "U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood Announces Federal Ban on Texting for Commercial Truck Drivers", 26 January 2010, http://www.dot.gov/affairs/2010/dot1410.htm (accessed March 15, 2011).
Harry Hitzeman, "Elgin Crash Suit Claims Driver was Texting," Chicago Daily Herald, 1 March 2011, http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20110301/news/703019892/ (accessed March 15, 2011).
United States Department of Transportation, "Statistics and Facts About Distracted Driving", http://www.distraction.gov/stats-and-facts/index.html (accessed March 15, 2011).