According to a national survey answered by drivers, 51% admitted that using a cell phone was a major distraction while on the road. 25% of the drivers who participated in distracting activities while on the road were driving for work purposes. That is a large amount of distracted commercial drivers on the road!
The issue of texting or talking on the phone while driving is not a new one—even for commercial drivers. Just a little more than four years ago in November of 2011, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the U.S. Transportation Secretary passed a final ruling that prohibited the use of hand-held devices / cell phones by commercial truck drivers and bus drivers while in their vehicles are operation.
Why the Need for a New Law?
While not all states have laws banning cell phone use behind the wheel, the new rule makes it illegal for any commercial driver to use their device while actively on the job (driving). Before the rule was in place, commercial drivers could legally use their device in states where there was no ban.
Research has shown how dangerous distracted driving is—which is why having laws in place for commercial drivers is crucial. Some studies have even show that talking on a hand-held device while behind the wheel can be just as dangerous as drunk driving. It can also increase a driver’s risk of getting into an accident by 400%!
When a driver takes their eyes off the road to read or type of text / email, it takes at least 5 seconds. If they are going a minimum of 55 mph, they would travel the length of a football field in that time. Imagine a large commercial truck travelling down the highway—completely blind for the length of a football field. This doesn’t bode well for anyone on the road. Thankfully, the new laws are working to curb such incidents.
Enforcing Penalties for Texting & Phone Usage
The law was passed to help curb distracted driving truck accidents, which spiked in past years, most likely due to the growing popularity of smart phones. If a commercial driver is caught using their phone while operating their vehicle, they will face civil penalties and consequences.
These include the following:
- Up to $2,750 in fines for each offense
- Possible driver disqualification for multiple offenses
- $11,000 fine for trucking company that allows such actions
- Potential loss of job for violations
Injured by a Distracted Truck Driver? Get Legal Help.
Distracted driving accidents led to 5,450 fatalities in 2009 and 16% of all traffic fatalities in 2012 according to the NHTSA. Have you been involved in a truck accident caused by a reckless truck driver who was talking on their cell phone or texting while on the road? This is against the law, and can be considered truck driver negligence or employer negligence if a driver causes an accident. Learn your options with our experienced attorneys in a free case evaluation.
Talk to our Texas truck accident lawyers about your case. We are ready to fight for the compensation you need.