The Dangers of Texting While Driving in the Trucking Industry
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has banned texting by truck and bus drivers while operating a commercial motor vehicle (CMV). The consequences of texting and driving are well documented, which is why it is so important for truck drivers and trucking companies to strictly adhere to and promote the ban on texting while driving.
Texing and Driving Accident Statistics
The statistics on texting and driving are overwhelming:
- 3,328 people were killed in 2012 as the result of distracted driving
- 421,000 people were injured in 2012 as the result of distracted driving
- People are 23 times more likely to have an accident if they are texting while driving
- A texting driver is 6 times more likely to have an accident than a DRUNK driver
- 23% of all accidents involved the use of cell phones while driving
Texting and driving is exceedingly dangerous. Texting is the worst form of distracted driving because it involves visual, cognitive and manual involvement on the part of the driver. This level of distraction causes the driver to take his or her eyes and concentration off of the road for an average of 5 seconds per text. Obviously this is even more alarming when the distracted driver is operating an 18 wheeler or a large passenger bus. The truck or bus will travel about 600 to 650 feet without driver supervision on a highway or expressway during a single text message, leaving the commercial driver (and all other surrounding drivers) very little time to react to an emergent situation.
Texting and driving is illegal in most states, but the federal ban on texting applies to all fifty states. The ban applies to all Commercial Motor Vehicles (CMVs) which are defined as:
- Vehicles with a gross weight of 10,000 pounds
- Vehicles designed or used for more than 8 people including the driver for compensation
- Vehicles designed or used for more than 15 people NOT for compensation
- Vehicles transporting any quantity of hazardous materials
The ban does not apply to federal/state local government CMVs EXCEPT for
- School bus drivers
- Drivers of vehicles of 9 to 15 people not for compensation
The texting ban (Section 392.80) of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations states:
- "No driver shall engage in texting while driving"
- "No motor carrier shall allow or require its drivers to text while driving"
Penalties for texting and driving can result in fines for the driver and for the trucking companies and disqualifications or suspensions for drivers. While the penalties will dissuade some CMV drivers from texting, there are still truck and bus operators out on our highways who risk their life and the lives of other motorists by continuing to text and drive.
Lawsuits for Truck Accidents Caused By Texting
The owners and operators of tractor trailers, semis, and buses need to be held accountable for the risks they take when texting and driving causes injury and/or death to other drivers or pedestrians. Therefore, it is critical that victims of such crashes understand their legal rights. An experienced attorney can aid victims in the legal complexities of an accident involving a bus or semi/tractor trailer in Kentucky. Damages resulting from a commercial vehicle accident may include current and future medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, automobile damage or replacement costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Contact Brett Oppenheimer, a Kentucky lawyer, if you would like to discuss your potential case. Email or call Brett with questions at his Louisville office at (502) 242-8877.