When drivers are distracted, even for a few seconds, it can put others at risk. This is especially true of truck drivers. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), drivers of commercial vehicles are 23.2 times more likely to be involved in a safety-critical event when texting.
With semi trucks weighing up to 80,000 pounds, the damage a commercial vehicle can cause in an accident is substantial. As a result, the FMCSA published rules prohibiting interstate commercial drivers from texting and cell phone use. This includes using any device to email, text, message or use the internet.
While texting may be illegal for interstate commercial drivers, distractions still exist. At any moment of daylight in the U.S., 660,000 drivers are distracted using cell phones across the United States according to a 2011 study by the U.S. Department of Transportation. The use of smart phones continues to increase each year, for drivers of passenger vehicles and commercial vehicles alike.
What does this mean in a truck accident?
If you are involved in an accident with a truck driver and the accident was the result of that driver's negligence, you may have a personal injury claim. In this type of case, you can pursue compensation to help you cover the cost of your medical expenses and lost wages. You can also pursue damages for your pain and suffering. If you can show evidence that the truck driver was distracted at the time of your accident, it can help prove negligence in your case.
Proving the other driver was distracted
Proving that another driver was distracted at the time of accident can be difficult. The exact time of an accident can be difficult to connect to a specific text message or email.
In order to build your case and preserve evidence, take careful notes about what happened at the accident. Also, gather the contact information of any witnesses who may have seen the truck driver using a cell phone or discussing a distraction. Finally, an experienced personal injury attorney can help you gather and present the evidence necessary to build your case.