People are quite familiar with the dangers of distracted driving, and this important safety issue is garnering much attention in the media and by organizations that promote safe driving. Despite the increased awareness and even stricter laws regarding this type of dangerous behavior, distracted driving continues to be a problem, one that is not isolated just to drivers of passenger vehicles.
Truck drivers are just as susceptible to the various temptations that can steal a driver’s attention. In fact, truckers may be more prone to distraction due to the long hours they spend behind the wheel and mental and physical exhaustion they often experience. When a truck driver is not focused on driving safely, it is a serious threat to every other Louisiana driver and passenger.
Distracted driving regulations from the FMCSA
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration passed regulations specifically to address the issue of distracted driving. Knowing that truckers may need to occasionally use the phone or other equipment for safety, communication and dispatching, the FMCSA designed these regulations to address issues specific to the truck driving industry. These regulations do the following:
- Prohibits texting and the use of hand-held mobile devices while driving commercial vehicles
- Subjects drivers to fines and other penalties, even the potential to be put out of service, if caught violating regulations
- Allows for the use of hands-free devices when used appropriately
- Allows for the use of any device necessary for dispatching as long as it is not being used to text
The intent of these regulations is to discourage dangerous behaviors while behind the wheel of a large, heavy semi truck. Research indicates that a driver using the phone is six times more likely to be involved in an accident, and drivers who text are 23 times more likely to be in an accident. In fact, the risk of an accident is so high that the FMCSA discourages truckers from even reaching for or holding a phone.
Who is to blame for your truck accident?
As in other types of accidents, it can be hard to prove that distracted driving played a role in your accident. A thorough investigation can determine if you are the victim of negligence, if you have grounds for a civil claim and how you can hold liable parties accountable. It is possible that the truck driver or the trucking company is financially responsible for your recovery, and you have the right to hold these parties accountable for what you suffered due to distracted driving.