Truck Accidents Caused by a Distracted Truck Driver


Trucker inattention or distraction can cause catastrophic injuries and deaths. If you’ve been harmed by a negligent truck driver, the award-winning truck accident lawyers at Wilshire Law Firm will help fight for the justice you and your loved ones deserve. We’ve collected over $1 billion for clients. Call (800) 501-3011 to schedule a free case review.

Distracted Driving Is a Leading Cause of Accidents

Inattention and distraction while driving are leading causes of accidents on the road, and truckers are not immune to this dangerous behavior. As truck drivers spend long hours on the road, they may be more prone to distractions. Unfortunately, these distractions can lead to severe accidents. Inattention, such as daydreaming, is equally problematic.

When truckers do not focus on the road, they are more likely to cause a collision with other vehicles or pedestrians. This lack of concentration can lead to devastating injuries and even deaths.

Difference Between Inattention and Distracted Driving

Truck Driver Inattention

  • Drivers experience inattention when their mind wanders or fails to focus on the road entirely.
  • Inattention can result from fatigue, boredom, or thinking about work.
  • When a truck driver experiences inattention, they may overlook vital road signs or other vehicles.
  • Inattention increases the risk of accidents and collisions.

Trucker Distracted Driving

  • Drivers engage in distracted driving when they divert their attention from the road to other activities or stimuli.
  • Factors such as texting, eating, or using a navigation system while driving contribute to distracted driving.
  • Rubbernecking refers to the act of drivers slowing down or stopping to look at an accident or other event on the side of the road, which distracts them from the road ahead.
  • When a truck driver becomes distracted, they may be unable to react in time to changing road conditions or hazards.
  • Distracted driving is a leading cause of accidents on the road, and it endangers the driver, their passengers, and other drivers on the road.
  • Using a CB radio may interfere with concentration.

Distracted and Inattentive Driving Statistics

Distracted and inattentive driving occurs frequently. Below you’ll find nationwide and California statistics:


  • Distracted driving contributed to approximately 8.5% of fatal crashes and 15% of injury collisions in the United States in 2021 (NHTSA). [1
  • In 2021, 3,450 people died in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers (NHTSA).
  • Inattention was a factor in approximately 15% of all truck accidents in the United States in 2021. 


  • In 2021, California had 73,547 collisions caused by distracted driving, resulting in 47,710 injuries and 275 fatalities (OTS). [2]
  • Inattention was a factor in 11.5% of all fatal collisions and 5.5% of all injury collisions in California in 2021 (OTS).
  • The California Highway Patrol reported that in 2021, there were 341 truck accidents caused by inattention, resulting in 102 injuries and eight fatalities. 
Distracted truck driver on phone

Penalties for Distracted Driving in California

Distracted driving is a serious offense in California, and the penalties for this behavior can be severe. Using a handheld device while driving is illegal in California, and violators can face fines unless modifications exist where it is hands-free.
Under Vehicle Code VC 23123.5, other charges may apply. [3] Distracted drivers may also receive points on their driving record, leading to higher insurance rates and even license suspensions. Distracted driving may even result in criminal charges if the motorist causes an accident or injury while using their phone. Given the serious consequences of distracted driving, drivers need to put their phones away and stay focused on the road while driving.

Categories of Distracted and Inattentive Driving

While distracted driving by truck drivers can take many forms, it can generally be categorized into four main categories: visual, manual, cognitive, and auditory distractions.

  • Visual distractions occur when a driver takes their eyes off the road, even briefly, to look at something else. Examples of visual distractions include looking at a phone, GPS, or a passenger in the vehicle.
  • Manual distractions occur when a driver takes one or both hands off the steering wheel while driving. Examples of manual distractions include eating, drinking, or adjusting the radio.
  • Cognitive distractions occur when a driver’s mind does not entirely focus on driving. Examples of mental distractions include daydreaming, talking on the phone, or listening to a podcast while driving. Inattention is another name for some forms of cognitive distraction.
  • Auditory distractions occur when a driver is distracted by sounds or noises. Examples of auditory distractions include loud music, conversations, or sirens from emergency vehicles.

Proving a Truck Driver Was Distracted

For a truck accident injury case to succeed, you must prove the other driver displayed negligence. Proving that another driver was distracted at the time of an accident can be challenging. Our experienced big rig accident lawyers may coordinate with you in taking several steps to help support your case. These may include the following:

  • Take photos of the accident scene and any damage to the vehicles involved.
  • If you notice any signs of distracted driving, such as a cell phone or food in the car, document this as well.
  • If there were any witnesses to the accident, ask them if they noticed any signs of distracted driving from the other driver.
  • Obtain phone records or other evidence that the other driver was using their phone or another distracting behavior at the time of the accident. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Distracted Truck Driver Accidents 

Can I sue a truck driver for a distracted driving accident in California?

Yes, you may be able to sue a truck driver for a distracted driving accident in California. However, the specifics of your claim will depend on the facts and circumstances of your case, including whether another party caused or contributed to the accident and their degree of fault. The experienced truck accident lawyers at Wilshire Law Firm can review your case for free and determine what legal options may be available for you.

What is the most frequent reason for distracted truck driving accidents?

The most frequent reason for distracted truck driving accidents is the use of cell phones while operating a vehicle. Distracted driving can include talking or texting on a mobile device, adjusting the GPS, eating or drinking behind the wheel and engaging in other activities that take away from giving full attention to the road. By taking their focus off of driving, even for just a few seconds, truck drivers increase their risk of being involved in an accident.

Turn to Wilshire Law Firm for Distracted Truck Driver Crashes

Californians turn to Wilshire Law Firm when they suffer injuries in a semi-truck or commercial vehicle accident. Our award-winning lawyers are here for you too. When you call us at (800) 501-3011, you can schedule a free case review, where our legal team will answer your questions and give you future options. Reach out to a personal injury lawyer. If calling is not right for you, contact us online. Remember, besides the initial review, you pay no fee unless you win

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