Distracted Driving Semi-Truck Accidents
Distracted drivers present a danger to those sharing the road under any circumstances. However, due to the size and weight of large commercial trucks, distracted drivers behind the wheels of these big rigs pose an even greater risk.
Distracted driving among commercial truck drivers is the second-most common cause of large truck accidents, following only truck accidents caused by speeding, according to research by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association (FMCSA).
When a distracted trucker collides with a normal car, the drivers and passengers in the smaller vehicle nearly always bear the brunt. People who are hurt in distracted driving truck accidents often contend with severe, and sometimes fatal, injuries. If you suffered serious harm in a semi-truck accident because of the negligence of a distracted trucker in Louisiana, you may be entitled to compensation.
The aggressive advocacy of the semi-truck accident attorneys at Tomeny | Best Injury Lawyers has helped hundreds of Baton Rouge accident victims recover millions of dollars in compensation. We have the experience and the endurance needed to fight for the maximum recovery you deserve, whether through tough negotiations with insurance adjusters or relentless trial litigation.
For more than three decades, our firm has built an award-winning team dedicated exclusively to fighting for the rights of personal injury victims just like you. To discuss the details of your case in a free consultation with our Louisiana legal team, call us now or reach out online.
Distracted Driving Laws for CDL Truck Drivers
The FMCSA published the results of a landmark study examining distracted driving among commercial truck drivers. Among other things, the report showed that 71 percent of tractor-trailer collisions were the result of drivers focused on something other than operating their trucks.
As a result of the study, the FMCSA banned texting for all commercial drivers in the United States, which was soon followed by an executive order banning all federal employees from texting while driving on the job.
The FMCSA went a step further and banned the use of all handheld devices by commercial drivers operating trucks with gross vehicle weight ratings of more than 10,000 pounds. The ruling was very detailed, specifically prohibiting drivers from holding, dialing, or reaching for their devices behind the wheel. Drivers are now permitted to use their devices only if they have hands-free operation functions or they pull over to the side of the road beforehand.
Commercial drivers who violate these distracted driving laws may face thousands of dollars in fines for each offense. After two or more offenses, many states will suspend a trucker’s commercial drivers’ license (CDL). If a truck driver’s employer is found to have allowed or encouraged truckers to use handheld devices while driving, the company may be subject to a maximum penalty of as much as $11,000.
Regardless of whether a trucker or employer is charged with breaking the law or is acquitted on charges, victims of distracted driving truck accidents may still be able to seek compensation in a civil lawsuit. Criminal and civil cases are separate matters, and the burden of proof is much lower when suing for money damages.
Distracted Driving Semi-Truck Accidents Facts and Figures
The FMCSA has reported many alarming statistics showcasing the very real dangers presented by distracted drivers behind the wheels of large commercial trucks, such as:
- Truck drivers who text or use handheld devices behind the wheel are more than 23 times more likely to be involved in a collision.
- Distracted truck drivers who simply reach for a nearby object triple their likelihood of being involved in a crash.
- Commercial drivers who text while driving divert their eyes from the road ahead for an average of nearly five seconds, enough time to drive the length of a football field while traveling at just 55 mph.
- Truck operators who use work-related dispatching devices while driving are nine times more likely to be involved in a “safety-critical event.”
Distracted truck drivers who cause car accidents are rarely the only victims of their own inattention.
Throughout one recent year, more than 4,000 people were killed in large truck crashes throughout America. Of those victims:
- 67 percent were occupants of cars or light trucks, while 15 percent were motorcyclists, bicyclists, or pedestrians.
- Only 16 percent were CDL truck drivers.
- Drivers dialing handheld devices were 600 percent more likely to be involved in truck accidents.
- Drivers texting behind the wheel were 23 times more likely to be involved in a “safety-critical event.”
Types of Distractions for CDL Truck Drivers
Truck drivers are liable to succumb to the same distractions as any other driver, such as texting while driving, but certain distractions are more prevalent with commercial drivers. Since truck drivers are operating in a commercial capacity, they are responsible for more than just traveling from point A to point B and may become distracted by other duties on the road.
Additionally, commercial truckers often drive through long shifts, which can make them more prone to distraction from sheer boredom.
Some of the most common types of distractions seen among CDL truck drivers include:
- Texting, using, or talking on a handheld device
- Drinking or eating behind the wheel
- Personal grooming, shaving, or dressing
- Looking at maps or GPS readouts
- Watching DVDs or streaming videos
- Attending to fuel-economy or workflow gadgets
- Using in-cab tracking or communication systems
- Checking electronic logging devices
Tomeny | Best has been handling different types of distracted driving-related cases, one of the most recent examples that the law firm is currently handling is a case where the driver hit our client at high speed and we were able to prove that the driver was watching Netflix.
Get Help If You’ve Been Hurt by a Distracted Trucker
If you’ve been injured by a trucker’s distracted driving, the attorney you choose as your legal representative will have a significant impact on your potential recovery. You need a knowledgeable truck accident lawyer with real experience both in and out of the courtroom.
At Tomeny | Best Injury Lawyers, our office is staffed with former insurance attorneys and trial judges. We are committed to using the full depth and breadth of our experience to protect your best interests.
You can trust our team to use our extensive resources and deep knowledge of the law to maximize the compensation you could receive for your suffering. Not only will we fight diligently for your recovery, we are also committed to providing personalized, dedicated attention to our clients.
We want to fight for you and your family, not just your case. We look forward to showing how we can help in a free initial case review. To get started, call us or contact us online now.