Distracted driving is a serious safety concern among truck drivers. The most dangerous type of distracted driving identified in commercial truck accidents is texting while driving, federal research says.
Truck drivers, bus drivers and drivers who haul hazardous materials are prohibited by federal law from texting while driving. Truckers who get caught texting behind the wheel can lose their commercial driver’s license (CDL). A distracted truck driver who causes an accident in Washington State may be held liable for the injuries, property damage, pain and suffering and other financial and personal losses of those who have been hurt in the crash.
The attorneys at the Mariano Morales Law Firm of Yakima can help if you have been injured in a commercial truck accident caused by a distracted driver. Contact us now for a free review of your potential lawsuit.
Distracted Truckers Are Dangerous Drivers
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) have published rules specifically prohibiting interstate truck and bus drivers, and drivers who transport large quantities of hazardous materials, from texting or using hand-held cell phones while operating their vehicles.
The FMCSA says “texting” means manually entering text into, or reading text from, an electronic device. This includes short message service, e-mailing, instant messaging, a command or request to access a Web page, or pressing more than a single button to start or end vocal communication on a cell phone.
Why? A study of distracted driving among truck drivers conducted for the FMCSA found that drivers were engaged in non-driving related tasks in 71 percent of commercial truck crashes, 46 percent of near-crashes and 60 percent of all safety-critical events (crashes, near-crashes, unintentionally leaving a lane, or any other conflict with other vehicles).
Among the tasks found to distract truck drivers, researchers identified:
- Text messaging on a cell phone.
- Dialing a cell phone
- Talking or listening to hands-free phone or CB radio.
- Interacting with or looking at dispatching device.
- Writing on a pad, notebook or other paper.
- Using a calculator.
- Looking at a map.
- Reading a book, newspaper, paperwork, etc.
- Personal grooming.
- Smoking-related behavior.
- Reaching for object in the vehicle.
- Looking back into the sleeper berth.
The study says “the most risky behavior identified was ‘text message on cell phone’.”
Distracted Driving Is Negligent Driving
Engaging in any activity that takes your eyes or mind off the road ahead while driving a truck is distracted driving. It is a form of negligent driving.
Just 4.6 seconds of distraction, the average time it takes to read or send a text message, is long enough for a vehicle to travel 100 yards at 55 mph. That’s if it does not run into something first.
In addition to FMCSA regulations against texting while driving or using a hand-held cell phone, trucking companies are prohibited from allowing or requiring their drivers to text or use a hand-held mobile phone while driving.
If a truck accident was caused by a driver who was texting or otherwise engaging in distracted driving behavior, the driver and the trucking company may be liable for injuries you have suffered.
Contact Our Truck Accident Lawyers About Distracted Driving
If you have been involved in a truck accident in Washington State that you think may have been caused by distracted driving of any kind, contact the Mariano Morales Law Firm.
We have been protecting the rights of individuals involved in tractor-trailer accidents for nearly 20 years. Find out how we can help you. For a free initial legal consultation, call us now or fill out our online contact form.