Regulations for Distracted Truck Drivers
A distracted driver is always dangerous on the road, but that is especially true when the person is driving a large and heavy vehicle, such as an over-the-road truck and trailer. These types of vehicles, because of their large size, are inherently dangerous machines to operate, both for the driver and for those on the road with the vehicle. One of the most common distractions these days for all drivers is talking on a cell phone, or even texting while driving.
Statistics show that distracted driving can cause injuries, and even fatalities, either for the person distracted, or for someone else driving or riding around them. In 2010 alone there were over 3,000 deaths caused by distracted drivers, according to the National Transportation Safety Board (“NTSB”).
There are no federal laws applicable to all drivers in all states, but the NTSB has recently urged all states to adopt laws prohibiting driving while using a portable electronic device. Thirty four states, including Indiana, plus the District of Columbia, have already banned text messaging while driving. On the other hand, only nine states, plus D.C., have banned the use of handheld cell phones while driving.
While there are no federal laws on this issue that apply to all drivers, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, in September 2010, banned commercial truck drivers from texting while driving. Further, in November 2011 the NTSB prohibited these same commercial drivers from using hand held cell phones while they’re driving, although the ban does not apply to hands-free cell phone technology. These two rules should greatly increase safety on the road, with fewer distractions for these heavy truck drivers.
With these changes in regulations, it is more important than ever for truck accident attorneys to determine if distractions, such as cell phones or texting, were involved in any accidents which may occur. If the driver was doing one of these prohibited activities at the time of the accident it would strengthen the case of liability further. If you or a loved one have been in a truck accident you can contact us for a free consultation to discuss your case.