Distracted driving has become a significant cause of truck accidents. Truck drivers spend large amounts of time on the road, alone and away from loved ones, often leading to an attempt at “multitasking” while driving. This can be detrimental not only to the driver and truck but also to any other passengers and motor vehicles.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident, having an attorney who understands the common distractions and regulations involved in the commercial truck industry is essential for proving your claim. This article will serve to give you a broad overview of the root cause of so many truck crashes.
Common Distractions for Drivers
Many distractions include cell phones or other electronic devices. But they can also include eating, reading a map, or conversing with another passenger while driving. A truck driver’s attention can be taken off the road by any visual, manual, cognitive distractions, or a combination of all three.
Use of Hand Held Personal Devices:
Anytime a driver takes their hands off the wheel, there is an increased risk of accidents. Using a hand-held cell phone, GPS, or other devices while driving poses a threat to truck drivers and other drivers around them. In the few seconds it takes to dial a number or check directions, a truck driving at a typical highway speed can travel the length of a football field.
Use of Dispatching Devices:
Dispatching devices help truck drivers stay in communication with their dispatchers and provide navigational and log tracking support. However, the use of the device while driving is known as “texting for truckers”, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Some of the devices may include a lock feature while driving to help avoid distractions, as use could be just as detrimental as texting from their cell phone.
Eating and Drinking:
Although they are a necessary part of day-to-day life, it is recommended that drivers avoid eating and drinking while on the road. Like using any of their devices, these actions can take their hands off the road for even more extended periods, requiring them to drive with only one hand. This sort of impairment can cause the driver to lose control of the tractor-trailer at any moment, resulting in a devastating impact.
Driving While Impaired:
Sometimes truck drivers may not be working in the sharpest physical or mental conditions, resulting in driver error, property damage, and injury. Driver fatigue, use of drugs, and alcohol use can all cause distractions while driving. However, the FMCSA has rules and regulations in place to avoid these impairments.
Distractions by Other Passengers:
Truck drivers will occasionally have other passengers along with them for their commute. This could be another person or a pet that they’ve opted to bring, which can cause both mental and physical distractions. The distractions of having someone within such close proximity can include anything from communicating with passengers to caring for them.
Although their hands may remain on the wheel, truck drivers can be distracted by external factors. These can include other vehicles, signs, wildlife, etc. When looking around at other objects besides the road, drivers can veer towards them, causing unintentional lane changes and missed turns. This can be detrimental to both themselves and the drivers around them.
Rules and Regulations to Prevent Distracted Truck Drivers
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has very specific regulations on what is allowed while driving to prevent accidents caused by any of the above distractions. There are strict rules in place regarding how much drive time a trucker can perform.
Because cell phone usage is a significant contributor to distracted driving, the FMCSA has banned any action that requires you to hold and use your cell phone. This includes texting, pulling up a web browser, checking email, dialing calls, etc.
Trucking companies and their drivers are held accountable to several standards in order to reduce the number of accidents each year.
Was Your Truck Accident Caused by Distracted Driving?
Being able to prove your claim involves having key evidence to support it. We at the personal injury firm of Strickland & Kendall are experienced in knowing how to dissect the evidence from your accident and ask the right questions in order to determine who is at fault and validate your claim.
If you or someone you love has been involved in a truck accident, contact us for a free consultation at 334-269-3230 today!