How Does Texting While Driving Affect Truck Accidents?
Posted on Friday, September 24th, 2021 at 3:45 pm
Everyone understands the dangers of drunk driving. However, most people don’t know that distracted driving is just as dangerous. Texting while driving is a common distraction that can have fatal consequences. When someone takes their eyes off the road and their hands off the wheel to read or send a text, they’re not focused on the task of driving. It becomes more difficult to notice hazards and respond appropriately.
Truck drivers often engage in reckless behavior behind the wheel of their commercial trucks. A collision between an 80,000-pound tractor-trailer and a passenger car can cause severe injuries and death to the smaller vehicle occupants. If you were involved in an accident involving a trucker who was texting and driving, you could be entitled to financial compensation for your medical treatment and other losses.
Federal Regulations on Texting and Driving
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates the use of mobile devices by truck drivers. Anyone who operates a commercial motor vehicle can only use a hand-held mobile telephone or engage in texting if they’re in communication with law enforcement or another emergency service.
If a trucker is operating a commercial motor vehicle with the motor running, including while the truck is stationary because of a traffic control device, traffic, or another momentary delay, they are prohibited from:
- Texting while driving
- Using a hand-held mobile telephone unless contacting law enforcement or emergency services
Violating this regulation could result in an expensive fine and lead to a traumatic accident with another vehicle.
How Texting Causes Accidents
Operating a commercial truck requires the driver to pay attention at all times. It’s a massive vehicle that towers over compact cars and can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds with a full cargo.
Large trucks can cause significant property damage, debilitating injuries, and fatalities. In 2019, only 16 percent of the 4,119 deaths in large truck accidents were the occupants of commercial trucks, while 67 percent were passenger vehicle occupants.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, sending or reading a text is like driving with your eyes closed. In those few seconds, it’s possible to travel the entire length of a football field. Even if a trucker only looks away from the road for a few seconds, they could end up on a collision course with another vehicle. They might drift into oncoming traffic or crash into the back of a stopped car.
Common Injuries in Truck Accidents
If a truck driver looks down at their cell phone, they can’t see what’s happening around them. They could run a red light and crash into someone already in the intersection, jump the curb and run over a pedestrian, or take an upcoming turn too fast and lose control of their truck.
The injuries associated with truck accidents are often severe and life-threatening. Even if the crash occurs at low speeds, the force exerted by the truck with all the weight behind it can crumple a small car like a piece of paper, crushing the driver and passengers inside.
The most common injuries caused by truck accidents include:
- Loss of limb
- Broken bones
- Spinal cord damage
- Traumatic brain injury
- Deep lacerations and burns
- Internal bleeding
- Permanent scarring or disfigurement
The injuries you suffered could be permanent and lead to disability. If you can’t return to work and earn your usual income, you could be left with medical bills you can’t afford. Many victims face debt following a truck accident.
If your actions didn’t contribute to your injury, you shouldn’t be financially responsible for your expenses. The negligent truck driver or his company should compensate you for your losses.
How to Prove a Truck Driver Was Texting and Driving
You should seek medical treatment and hire a lawyer immediately after the accident. An experienced lawyer can investigate the crash and gather all available evidence.
Proving the trucker was texting while driving can be a challenge. The evidence your lawyer might need to obtain includes:
- Cell phone records – Showing the driver was on their phone at the time of the collision could prove they likely weren’t paying attention to the road ahead.
- Video surveillance – There are traffic cameras everywhere. Securing the footage might show the truck driver engaging in texting at the wheel.
- Testimony from eyewitnesses – Other drivers and passengers could have seen the trucker texting while driving. They could provide a statement that could serve as evidence during an insurance claim or testify in court if you choose to file a lawsuit.
- Event data recorder – If the motor carrier installed an event data recorder in the truck, it could provide information about the trucker’s actions. For example, recorded data shows whether the driver applied their brakes right before the collision. If the truck driver didn’t brake, it could indicate that they were distracted.
If you were injured in an accident with a commercial truck because the truck driver was texting while driving, do not hesitate to contact Jonathan R. Brockman, P.C.. Our truck accident attorneys can review the circumstances and determine whether we can help you hold the trucker or his company liable for your injuries.
Call us for a free consultation today at (770) 205-8827.