Distracted Truck Drivers
In a Crash with a Distracted Truck Driver? Call a Florida Truck Accident Law Firm Today!
Operating a truck takes tremendous skill, experience and concentration, and drivers cannot afford to be distracted while behind the wheel. One mistake can end in tragedy, and our Florida trucking law firm is here to pick up the pieces.
Statistics compiled by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) indicate that:
- Truck drivers who are texting are more than 23 times more likely to be involved in a crash, veer out of their lane, make an unexpected move that jeopardizes other vehicles on the road, are cause another “safety critical” event.
- Drivers of large trucks are six times more likely to be involved in a crash while dialing a hand-held cell phone.
- Truckers are three times more likely to have an accident while reaching for an object in the truck.
And yet, during the more than 40 years since our founding, the truck accident attorneys at Searcy Denney have seen the numbers of distracted driving accident claims skyrocket in Florida. In every case, these truck crashes were preventable if the truck driver would have paid attention and the trucking corporation had implemented more effective training and driver safety policies. Our Florida truck accident law firm is here to help you recover damages resulting from a distracted truck driver.
Distractions While Behind the Wheel of a Truck
Long hours on the road can lead to boredom, fatigue and loneliness for long-haul drivers. Drivers may engage in inappropriate tasks as they maneuver their tractor-trailer or semi-truck at high speed on Florida’s highways and through our small towns.
Although much attention is given to texting and phone use, 2017 FMCSA analyses confirm that dangerous driving distractions include a wide range of other activities:
- Reading a GPS or map
- Surfing the Internet
- Watching videos
- Using social media such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram
- Distraction by an outside person, object or event
- Eating or drinking
- Grooming such as shaving or brushing hair
- Reaching for an object in the passenger seat
- Adjusting vehicle devices such as climate controls
- Looking at something along the highway
- Searching for a street name or address
Laws for Commercial Drivers Prohibit Texting While Driving
A majority of states now ban all drivers from texting while behind the wheel, whether in a car or a truck. And it’s a good thing, because texting takes a driver’s eyes of the road for 4.6 seconds – the same as driving the length of a football field blindfolded at 55 miles an hour!
Since January 2012, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has banned truck drivers from texting or talking on a handheld phone while operating commercial vehicles. The law applies to drivers of buses, tractor-trailers, delivery vans, heavy machinery, sanitation equipment and other vehicles of a specific size and weight. A majority of states now ban all drivers from texting while behind the wheel – but even in a state that does not, the federal texting ban still applies to truck drivers.
Under the FMSCA provisions, drivers cannot:
- Use a hand to hold a cell phone to place or receive a call;
- Dial the cell phone by pressing more than one button;
- Reach for the phone in such a way that requires the driver to move out of a seated and seat-belted position;
- Write, send or read a text message;
- Instant message;
- Engage in any other form of electronic communication.
Drivers who violate these laws face fines of up to $2,750 and driver’s license suspension for up to 120 days for repeat offenses. Employers may also be fined up to $11,000 for knowingly tolerating or requiring cell phone use or texting while behind the wheel. In addition, the FMCSA has amended its commercial driver’s license certification process to include among disqualifying offenses a conviction in any state or local jurisdiction that bans texting while operating a commercial vehicle.
Truck Drivers Need to Make Sure They Don’t Cause Accidents
Consumer organizations and industry associations work to educate truck drivers about assuming responsibility for preventing distracted driving accidents. Here are some tips for truckers:
- Keep your cell phone in the glove box of the big rig, not on the seat or next to you where even reaching can cause you to veer off the road.
- Make sure the GPS system is calibrated before you start your trip. Do not use paper maps that can become a distraction.
- Keep your eyes on the road and don’t focus on outside distractions such as billboards, buildings, or people. The NHTSA reports that an estimated 11,000 truck crashes can be blamed on outside distractions that interrupted the driver’s concentration.
- If you see a driver of another vehicle engaging in distracted behavior, take the license plate number and alert the highway patrol.
Call Our Florida Trucking Accident Law Firm Today
If you find yourself in need of legal help after a truck accident, consult our Florida trucking law firm today. Our team is here to answer your questions and provide you with experienced representations Contact our firm now to schedule your claim review.