Distracted Driving Truck Accidents

Distracted driving is the biggest threat facing our nation’s roadways today. Crashes caused by distracted drivers cause thousands of deaths and hundreds of thousands of injuries every year. The extent of the problem is difficult to quantify exactly, but the data is clear: distracted driving is deadly.

Every distracted driver is a danger to others on the road, but none may be as dangerous as a distracted semi-truck driver. When a driver in charge of a several-ton vehicle is distracted, the results can be catastrophic. While truck drivers are not the only distracted drivers on the road, their inattention may have much more severe consequences than a distracted driver in a smaller vehicle.

Distracted Driving Causes Truck Crashes

The explosion of technology in our vehicles has led to more distractions on the road than ever before, and large trucks and commercial vehicles are no exception. Cell phones, dashboard electronics, and other types of devices constantly compete for a driver’s attention.

Most people understand that activities like texting and driving or answering a call while driving can be dangerous. However, most people also believe that they are the exception to the rule and can handle the distraction without causing a problem. Unfortunately, this is not the case. A driver who takes his or her eyes off the road for as little as five seconds can travel more than the length of a football field when traveling at 55 miles per hour. This means that even a quick glance down to answer a text or call can lead to tragedy.

The problem is much more pervasive than many people realize, especially in the trucking industry. According to one study by Omnitracs Safety Center for Excellence (a division of a company which creates Electronic Logging Devices and other types of technology for the trucking industry), nearly 87% of all large truck accidents over the past decade can be attributed to distracted driving.

Distracted driving is getting worse in large part because the economy is getting better. More people are driving now than when the economy was in a recession, and people are shopping and spending more money both in stores and online. This means that there are more passenger vehicles on the road as well as many more large commercial trucks and shipping vehicles. More vehicles and more distracted drivers has led to a significant increase in truck accident injuries and fatalities over the past two or three years.

Distractions Are Dangerous in Large Trucks

Operating a large semi-truck or commercial vehicle is a difficult task. These vehicles often weigh upward of 80,000 pounds, and often have more than 10 different gears and a complicated dashboard interface. Simply operating the vehicle safely or adjusting the rig to handle road conditions can distract a driver’s attention from the roadway. When you add in other potential distractions, it is no wonder that distracted driving crashes involving large trucks are on the rise.

Cell phone use in particular is one of the most dangerous distractions to commercial truck drivers. While the FMCSA banned cell phone by truck drivers in 2010, the problem remains pervasive throughout the industry. Using a cell phone causes all three types of driver distractions: visual, manual, and cognitive.

Visual distractions involve activities that take a driver’s eyes off the road, like checking or sending a text message or looking at a map or navigation system. Manual distractions take a driver’s hands off the wheel; for instance, pressing buttons on a cell phone, eating fast food, or rummaging through the glove box. Cognitive distractions cause a driver to take his or her mind off the task of driving. The driver may be distracted by a conversation on a cell phone (even when using a hands-free device), or could be worried about problems in his or her life. All three types of distractions are dangerous, and all three types of distractions highlight the dangers of cell phone use while driving.

Even outside of cell phone use, truck drivers can be distracted for a myriad of reasons. Many drivers eat on the road, and unwrapping and handling food and drink while driving can be tricky. Fatigue and boredom can also distract drivers, causing their minds to wander and pay less attention to the road.

Hold Distracted Truckers Responsible

Truck drivers are human beings, and like anyone else are susceptible to making mistakes while driving. Unlike other drivers, however, truckers are in charge of managing vehicles that can cause catastrophic damage on the roadways. When a truck driver’s inattention causes an accident, he or she should be held responsible for the damage caused.

At Gerson & Schwartz, P.A., our experienced Miami truck accident attorneys help injured people get justice after an accident. If you or your loved one was injured by a distracted truck driver, contact our office and schedule a free consultation by calling (877) 475-2905 today.

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