In 2012, about 4,000 people died in crashes involving large commercial vehicles, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Distracted driving plays a role in thousands of accidents a year, but when it causes a truck accident, the results are often deadly. To stop distracted driving and prevent these fatal accidents, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) created texting rules for truck drivers.
What do these rules do?
In September of 2010, FMCSA created rules outlawing texting while driving. The following year, in November of 2011, FMCSA expanded the rule, banning all handheld cellphone use while driving, and disallowing any cellphone operation that requires more than a single click or touch of the screen.
If a truck driver violates this rule, the driver may receive a fine of up to $2,750 per offense. Repeated offenses may also lead to driver disqualification and/or loss of commercial driving privileges. The trucking company is also subject to civil penalties, including fines of up to $11,000 per offense.
In addition to the FMCSA rules, truck drivers must obey all local and state mobile phone and texting bans. Violating these laws and statutes can bring additional fines and penalties, especially if distracted driving leads to a serious accident.
Are cellphones the only distraction for truck drivers?
While the popularization of smartphones added a number of ways for drivers to distract themselves on the road, distracted driving has long been a problem. Anything that takes a driver’s attention off the road is a method of distracted driving. For truck drivers, this commonly includes:
- Unwrapping or eating food
- Lighting or smoking cigarettes
- Looking for items lost in the cab
- Watching movies or other videos
- Changing radio stations or CDs
Other factors may prevent a trucker from making sound judgements and reacting quickly to potential dangers in traffic. Alcohol or drug use is an obvious example, but driving while fatigued can lead to similar outcomes. Fatigued drivers are distracted drivers.
Who is responsible when a distracted trucker causes a crash?
When a distracted truck driver causes an accident, you can file a claim or lawsuit against both the trucker and his employer. Because trucking companies are responsible for their drivers’ actions while they are on the road, they are liable for any damages they cause.
Winning compensation for your damages requires having the evidence to prove distracted driving caused the accident and your subsequent injuries. Because much of this evidence is in the hands of the trucker and trucking company, acting quickly and enlisting the help of a Gwinnett County truck accident attorney is paramount.
Brauns Law works with Georgia truck accident victims to ensure they receive the compensation they deserve for their accident injuries. If you suffered injuries in a truck accident, contact us today at 404-418-8244 to learn more about your legal options.