When drivers takes their eyes off the road to send or read a text, they travel dozens of feet or more before looking back up again. At 55 miles per hour, a vehicle could travel the length of a football field in five seconds. This kind of behavior puts other people at risk on the road.
Those who drive commercial vehicles also end up texting while on their phones. The risk to everyone else on the road is clear. Massive semitrucks and 18-wheelers take longer to stop. If they crash with a smaller vehicle or a pedestrian, they can cause catastrophic, if not fatal, injuries. Despite that risk and laws in place to protect people on the road, far too many commercial drivers indulge in distraction while behind the wheel.
Federal law prohibits commercial drivers from texting
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has rules in place that prohibit commercial drivers from texting while driving. That ban includes typing information or reading inbound messages. The ban also applies to instant messaging, e-mailing and pressing multiple buttons on a mobile phone.
For those who get caught in the act, the penalties are steep. A driver could end up paying up to $2,750 in fines. Repeat offenders run the risk of revocation of their commercial driving licenses.
Commercial driving is a difficult and lonely job
Commercial drivers don’t have it easy. They have to sit for long periods of time, and they must remain completely focused on the road at all times for safety. There’s very real potential to incur a host of injuries, from back problems to repetitive-stress injuries to the hands and arms from holding onto the steering wheel all day.
Unlike most other workers, truck drivers don’t have anyone with whom they can chat while they are working. Thus, their jobs can become quite lonely. They may find themselves in need of company or companionship. That could result in a driver choosing to check a text message while driving. It could also result in distracting phone conversations.
Those injured by distracted truck drivers deserve compensation
Injuries resulting from collisions between commercial trucks and passenger vehicles can cause severe injuries or even kill the people in the smaller vehicle. When that tragic crash is the result of negligence, e.g., distraction, on the part of the commercial driver, the injured victims in the other vehicle shouldn’t have to pay the price.
Many factors, including equipment issues or even driver exhaustion, can contribute to collisions caused by commercial trucks. If you have reason to believe that distraction or texting played a role in a crash that injured you or loved ones, you should take steps to pursue justice.