Concerned Truck Accident Lawyer Tells All
Truck accidents take place with alarming regularity on America’s highways. Owing to their massive size, trucks can turn into weapons of mass destruction when they collide with other vehicles or structures at a high speed. The consequences of a truck accident can be terrible. They often result in damages to properties and loss of multiple lives. Many truck accidents happen due to distracted driving. When you are involved in a truck accident, you should contact an experienced truck accident lawyer immediately.
The meaning of distracted driving
Distracted driving is when the driver is engaged in other activities while driving, such as talking on the mobile phone, texting, talking to passengers, watching videos, reading, grooming, smoking, eating and drinking, and adjusting the radio and music player. These activities divert the driver’s attention from the road, sometimes with devastating consequences.
The statistics are alarming
According to Distraction.gov, the U.S. government’s official website for distracted driving, 3,179 people were killed and 431,000 were injured in 2014 as a direct result of distracted driving. Not surprisingly, young people are more at risk. Approximately 23% of all drivers in their twenties and 10% of all drivers in their late teens who were involved in road accidents were reported to be distracted at the time of the crashes. Of these, 38% were found to be using their cell phones.
With the exponential growth in smartphone ownership since 2010 (80% of all divers were found to be in possession of smartphones in 2014) and access to the internet, smartphones are quickly becoming the major sources of distraction on America’s roads. It is estimated that at any given moment during the day, approximately 660,000 drivers across the USA are busy on their cell phones or other electronic devices while driving, which is a staggering figure.
According to Trucking Truth, commercial vehicle drivers who text while driving are 23 times more likely to be involved in an incident while those who dial mobile phones while driving are six times more likely to be involved in an incident that those who do not. To add to their woes, many of these drivers fail to contact a truck accident lawyer immediately.
FMCSA guidelines and regulations
In light of the devastating consequences that distracted driving can have, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has issued new regulations that prohibit drivers of commercial motor vehicles from texting and using hand-held mobile phones while driving. Drivers caught violating the regulations are subject to fines and other penalties.
In short, the FMCSA guidelines for truck drivers expressly state that regarding the use of mobile phones and electronic devices, they are prohibited from reaching, holding, dialing, texting and reading while driving. This rule, however, does not apply to dispatching devices, which are essential to their business. Also, the use hands-free options for mobile phones and other electronic devices are not prohibited.
Fines and penalties
Violation of FMCSA regulations on distracted trucking is considered a serious traffic offence. If you are caught, you may be subjected to the following fines and penalties:
- You may be fined up to $2,750.
- In case of repeat offense, you may be disqualified or forced out-of-service for up to 120 days.
- Your employer may be fined up to $11,000 if they are found to be knowingly allowing or requiring you to use mobile phone and other electronic devices when driving.
- Your employer’s Safety Measurement System (SMS) will be negatively affected.
- Two serious violations within three years will get you disqualified for 60 days and three violations in the same period will put you out-of-service for 120 days. Additionally, you may be subjected to a heavy fine.
- In case of deaths and injuries resulting from an accident cause by distracted driving, you may face several years of imprisonment along with a hefty fine.
Contact a lawyer immediately
As you have seen, distracted trucking is a serious traffic offence with serious consequences. If you are involved in an accident as a result of a distracted driver, then call a truck accident lawyer immediately after the accident. Failure to do so may result in lower compensation for your damages.