Athens, TXPersonal Injury Lawyer

Distracted Semi-Truck Drivers Put Everyone On The Road at Risk

Semi-truck driver talking on the phone while driving a big rig.

Inattention is a factor in 1 out of 10 Texas truck wreck deaths

Distracted driving is one of the most common causes of truck accidents in the United States. According to a recent study, distractions play a role in a staggering 71 percent of commercial truck crashes.

The problem is even worse in Texas. According to state data, the state had the highest number of fatal truck accidents in 2020, the year with the most recent information available. About 10 percent of fatal truck accidents in Texas involve driver distraction.

Truck drivers, like all motorists, are bound by laws against distracted driving. Even though violations may incur hefty penalties, including fines, license suspension, or revocation, distracted driving truck accidents are common. This Distracted Driving Awareness Month, Weinstein Law is putting a spotlight on distracted driving truck accidents nationwide and in East Texas.

Distracted driving is against the law

To reduce distracted driving truck accidents, federal regulators have focused their attention on cell phones. The Federal Motor Coach Safety Administration (FMCSA) has had a "no texting" rule for truckers and bus drivers since at least 2012. Through this regulation and others, FMCSA prohibits the use of handheld mobile devices while operating commercial vehicles, including texting, calls, or social media. Moreover, the use of electronic devices like laptops or tablets is prohibited unless the device is securely mounted and operated without diverting a trucker's attention from the road.

FMCSA research demonstrates the high risk of texting while driving a semi-truck, 18-wheeler, big rig, construction truck, or another type of commercial motor vehicle (CMV). In the administration's "No Call. No Text. No Ticket." campaign, FMCSA highlights important statistics that support the national ban and other distracted driving regulations, including:

  • Truckers who text while driving are at 23.2 times greater risk of an accident than those who do not.
  • On average, texting drivers divert their attention from the road for 4.6 seconds when sending or receiving a text. On the highway, that's equivalent to traveling 371 feet at 55 mph, roughly the length of a football field - with no eyes on the road.
  • While dialing a phone, truckers are six times more likely to get into an accident than those not on a phone.
  • Hands-free devices are not necessarily safer than hand-held equipment because the technology is a mental distraction.

Evidence in a distracted driving truck accident

Proving negligence in a distracted driving truck accident can be challenging. Fortunately, most large commercial trucks are required to keep accurate records. In some cases, this evidence is key to the success of a victim's claim or lawsuit. Due to federal and state regulations, large commercial trucks typically include tracking and recording equipment like:

  • Electronic Control Modules and Event Data Recorder equipment, aka "black boxes," usually record data such as a truck's speed, braking, engine RPM, and other performance measures.
  • Electronic Logging Devices for recording Hours of Service (HOS).
  • Dash cameras or "dash cams" are another way to monitor vehicle operations as well as the truck driver's actions before, during, and, potentially, after the crash.
  • GPS tracking systems monitor vehicle location and route information.
  • Electronic communication devices for transmitting trip records, bills of lading, and other documentation electronically, as required.

An experienced truck accident lawyer understands the types of unique evidence available and how to prevent it from being lost or destroyed. Contacting a lawyer as soon as possible after a truck accident can help protect this type of evidence since it's owned by the trucking company.

Injured in an East Texas truck wreck? Call Jeff.

If you were injured or a loved one died in a truck accident in Henderson County, Texas, call Attorney Jeff Weinstein immediately for a free consultation. Our dedicated legal team can go over the details of your case and help you understand your potential legal options. To learn more about how we can help with your potential legal case, contact us today. Our office is in Athens, TX, and we serve clients throughout East Texas.

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