What Happens When Commercial Drivers Use Cell Phones?
Commercial truck drivers spend hours alone in the cab of a truck, staring out at a highway they have likely traveled upon numerous times. It can be all too tempting for a driver to pull out his smartphone to stay in touch with friends and family and to generally entertain himself. We all know that cell phone use behind the wheel now extends far beyond simply talking on the phone. When a truck driver uses a smartphone, she may be texting, emailing, browsing social media, watching videos, looking up information on the internet, and much more.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has strict rules when it comes to truck drivers and the use of handheld mobile devices. Specifically, a truck driver cannot even hold a phone or make a phone call unless the call only requires the touch of a single button. Drivers are also prohibited from reaching for a phone when it requires them to leave the traditional driving position or remove their seat belt. Commercial drivers are definitely banned from any text-based messaging by both the FMCSA and most state laws, including Virginia.
Despite these restrictions, many drivers continue to use a cell phone in a variety of ways while they are behind the wheel of a semi-truck. Such distracted driving can lead to many errors, including:
- Failing to recognize slowing or stopped cars
- Losing concentration
- Drifting from lanes
- Overcorrecting after suddenly recognizing a hazard
Distracted truck drivers can cause many different types of crashes. For example, a driver who fails to notice a car slowing or stopping in front of him can cause a rear-end accident. If the front vehicle is smaller, this may result in an override crash, which is often deadly. A truck driver who departs from her lane because of a visual distraction may end up in a head-on collision with oncoming traffic or may sideswipe a vehicle that is in the lane next to her. In addition, if a driver suddenly jerks the wheel and overcorrects, she can lose control and the truck can roll over.
Such truck accidents are often devastating and are completely preventable. A commercial driver who cannot resist using a cell phone unnecessarily puts all motorists in danger and should be held fully accountable for the losses of any injured victims.
Contact a Richmond Truck Accident Law Firm for More Information
Proving that a commercial driver was distracted can be challenging, however, the experienced truck accident lawyers at the law firm of Emroch & Kilduff understand how to handle these complex cases. Truck accident claims can involve trucking companies, multiple insurance claims, or possibly a personal injury lawsuit in civil court. If you have been injured in any type of truck accident, you need qualified legal representation. Please contact our office online or call (804) 358-1568 for a free case evaluation today.