Personal Injury Lawyers for Distracted Truck Driving Accidents Serving all of Massachusetts and Rhode Island
How often do you get distracted during the work day? For most of us, the answer is frequently. Regardless of your occupation or profession, staying continuously focused day in and day out is virtually impossible.
For some of us, this is not a problem. For example, if you work behind a desk and take a break to check your text messages or browse the headlines, chances are that no one’s life is going to be put at risk. You can probably even eat your lunch or drink your coffee without it significantly interfering with your work.
However, for truck drivers, it is a different story. When truck drivers are behind the wheel for eight or more hours in a day, during those eight or more hours, they need to maintain constant focus on their surroundings and the road ahead. When you’re driving a truck that weighs 13 tons or more at highway speeds, even a momentary distraction or lapse in concentration can lead to a fatal collision.
The Dangers of Distracted Driving
Unfortunately, while many truck drivers follow safe driving practices, many others give in to distractions on the road. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), 28 percent of all truck accidents result from what the FMCSA calls “recognition” failures. This includes situations where a truck driver was distracted or inattentive to their surroundings. With truck drivers regularly spending long days behind the wheel, it is easy to understand why they may succumb to distractions.
However, this is not an excuse for doing so.
According to the FMCSA, texting makes truck drivers 23.2 times more likely to cause a collision or put other drivers at risk of being involved in an accident. Truckers who dial their phones while driving are six times more likely to cause these “safety-critical” events. While distracted driving in any vehicle is dangerous, in a commercial truck, losing concentration is even more likely to cause serious or fatal injuries.
Common Truck Driver Distractions
Despite the widely-known risks of distracted driving, truck drivers regularly engage in unsafe practices behind the wheel. Some of the most common truck driver distractions that lead to accidents include:
- Texting and Talking with Friends and Family – Truck drivers often work odd hours and spend significant amounts of time away from home. When they can’t see their friends and family on a regular basis, they often use their time behind the wheel to catch up and keep in touch.
- Communicating with Dispatch – Whether via text, email, phone, or CB radio, truckers are regularly in communication with dispatch and other contacts at their employers and the shipping companies. Although this may be part of their job, it is not an excuse for taking their hands off of the wheel and their eyes and minds off of the road.
- Fighting Boredom – Spending hour after hour on highways like I-90, I-91, and I-95 gets boring. Despite the risks, truck drivers often get complacent and turn to various forms of entertainment to help them pass the time. From changing the radio and setting playlists to playing games and even watching movies behind the wheel, truck drivers often turn to dangerous distractions when they should be paying close attention to the road.
- Navigating – Looking at maps, setting GPS directions, and trying to interpret route guidance require visual focus and mental concentration. Truck drivers who get caught up trying to plan their next turn often end up causing rear-end collisions.
- Eating and Drinking – To save time and log more miles, truck drivers will often eat their meals on the go. Like other distractions, eating and drinking are dangerous because they require drivers to take their hands off the wheel. Truck drivers may also get distracted while reaching for drinks, unwrapping food, and cleaning up crumbs or spills.
The Federal Ban on Hand-Held Cell Phone Use in Commercial Vehicles
Recognizing the enhanced dangers of distracted driving in trucks and other commercial vehicles, the FMCSA has published rules that specifically prohibit texting and handheld cell phone use by truck drivers. The rules prohibit texting, emailing, instant messaging, surfing the web, using two or more buttons to make a call, and talking on a handheld cell phone. While studies have shown that hands-free calling is just as dangerous as handheld calling, the FMCSA’s rules are nonetheless an important step toward holding truck drivers accountable for distracted driving.
The Bottaro Law Firm | Legal Advocates for Those Injured in Distracted Truck Driving Accidents
At Bottaro Law, we are passionate about helping individuals who have been injured in distracted truck driving accidents pursue just compensation. We have recovered millions of dollars in truck accident cases in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, and we are committed to putting an end to distracted driving. To schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys, you can contact us online now or call us 24/7 at (866) 631-4288.