New federal regulations address the increasing problem of truck driver distraction while driving. Severe penalties now exist for commercial drivers (including 18-wheelers) who use cell phones while driving. If you are the victim of a truck accident it is important to have an experienced truck accident attorney in Clayton County.
A new law applicable nationwide prohibits commercial drivers from using any handheld cell phones or texting devices while operating a vehicle on the highway even if the vehicle is temporarily stalled in traffic. Television screens or viewers must not be visible to a commercial vehicle driver and they may not be used while the vehicle is moving. Tractor-trailer drivers who violate the law may be fined up to $2,750. Truck drivers may lose their licenses after two or more offenses. Trucking companies associated with the offending truck drivers face fines of up to $11,000.
Exceptions to the rule include Citizens Band (CB) radios, dispatching systems, GPS navigation devices and cell phone calls made with a single button or to emergency services. However, the Department of Transportation recommends that truck and bus drivers only use these devices when the vehicle is stopped.
Recent findings in Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration studies include:
- Truck drivers dialing a cell phone are 5.9 times more likely to be in an accident.
- Truck drivers who text while driving are 23.2 times more likely to get into an accident.
- Truck drivers using dispatching systems are 8.9 times more likely to be in an accident.
- Truck drivers who reach for a cell phone are 6.7 times more likely to be in an accident.
- Truck drivers who look at a map are 7 times more likely to have an accident.
Distracted driving accidents killed 3,092 people in 2010 according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. It is estimated that an additional 416,000 people were injured in automobile crashes involving a distracted driver.
Evidence that a truck driver was distracted and that this contributed to the accident could cause the truck driver, the trucking company and its insurance carrier to be found legally responsible for a victim's injuries and damages. This may include loss of wages, medical expenses and property damage. If you or someone you know has been hurt by a distracted truck driver, meet with a truck accident lawyer at Shane Smith Law. We can assist you in every stage of your case including obtaining the available evidence.