How Dangerous Are Distracted Truck Drivers
Truck drivers often do not understand keeping other drivers safe on the roads. They often tend to be distracted, causing severe accidents that may lead to serious injuries or even death. If you or your family member have been in an accident due to a distracted truck driver, you can contact a truck accident lawyer in Sarasota, FL. The lawyer will advise you of your legal rights and represent you in your fight to get justice.
What Is Distracted Driving?
When a trucker engages in any activity that takes their attention away from the road, it is called distracted driving. There are usually three types of distractions: Cognitive impairment when your mind is not focused on the driving, visual impairment when your eyes are off the road, and manual impairment when your hands are not on the wheel. Another form of distraction is emotional impairment when the driver could be angry or experiencing other strong emotions while driving.
Types Of Distractions
Driving a truck is difficult in normal situations itself. If an individual is distracted while driving, it can lead to severe accidents. The most common distractions while driving are:
- Talking on a cellphone
- Dialing or texting
- Using headphones or earphones
- Loud music
- Doing or reading paperwork
- Drinking beverages
- Watching videos or video calling someone
- Focusing too much on maps or GPS
- Looking outside the window
- Taking medications or drugs
- Reaching for things in the truck
- Adjusting the temperature or the radio in the truck
- Children and animals moving around
- Zoning out or daydreaming
Texting while driving is the most common distraction. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, texting while driving your truck at 55 mph is the same as driving on a football field blindfolded. Texting while driving an 18-wheeler has more risks as it takes large vehicles about 40% longer than small vehicles to stop after braking. Since most truck drivers spend maximum time in their vehicles, they treat the vehicle as their home. As a result, they change clothes, eat, groom themselves, or reach out to the floor or compartments to pick out things. All of these behaviors increase the chances of serious accidents on the road.
Risks Of Distracted Driving
The CDC estimates that about eight people are killed every day in truck accidents involving distracted drivers. Trucks are up to 30 times larger and heavier than other vehicles. They often transport hazardous substances and toxic liquids or explosives. If a truck collides with a smaller vehicle, there is very little chance of the smaller vehicle and its driver escaping without serious damage and injuries. The number of fatal accidents due to distracted truck drivers increased in Florida. According to a study, almost 350 people died in large truck accidents in 2019.
Kinds Of Accidents Caused By Distracted Drivers
According to research conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, many truck accidents occur when a truck leaves a lane and drives into a different lane, the driver loses control of the vehicle, or when the truck hits the back of another vehicle. All of these conditions could be caused due to distracted driving. The most common types of truck accidents caused due to distracted driving include:
Jackknife Accidents: These occur when the ring turns at a 90-degree angle between the trailer and the cab because of suddenly slamming the brakes.
Override, and Underride Accidents: These occur when a vehicle is crushed under a truck. This happens when a truck stops suddenly.
Blind Spot Accidents: These accidents occur when a truck driver doesn’t see another vehicle when turning and crashes into it.
Rollovers: These accidents occur when a semi rolls over due to the driver losing control over it.
Rear-End Collisions: These collisions occur when the truck hits the rear of the car in front of it.
How To Improve Focus
Truck drivers have a tough job. They spend a lot of time on the road, sometimes for weeks at length. This can lead to physical, emotional, and mental fatigue, leading to distractions on the road. Trucking companies can impose specific rules to encourage focus among truck drivers and prevent distracted driving. Some of these rules are:
1. Restrict The Use Of Devices
Companies can draft rules to keep in-vehicle devices to a minimum. This will prevent distractions from tablets, phones, and other handheld devices.
2. Restrictions On Answering The Phone
Companies can provide truck drivers with hands-free interfaces on the trucks. They should encourage drivers to avoid answering phones while driving. They should be allowed to use only voice-activated hands-free devices if the phone call is unavoidable.
3. Prohibiting Other Distractions
Companies should severely punish and prohibit drivers from distracting activities like reading, studying maps, or writing when driving. They should enforce strict policies regarding breaks and other entertainment.
4. Impose Limitations On Dispatches
Companies should dispatch to their drivers only when they are stopped. Speaking on the dispatching devices is as distracting as speaking on a cell phone while driving.
5. Severe Punishment For Distracted Driving
If caught while distracted driving, or if the driver causes an accident due to distracted driving, they should be liable for monetary damages in court.
What To Do If You Are In An Accident Due To A Distracted Truck Driver
If you or your loved one have been injured in a truck accident, you can take the help of a personal injury attorney and file for damages. It is not advisable to handle the case on your own as the trucking companies can have smart insurance agents and lawyers who will make you run around in circles without any constructive results.
Hale Law can help you if you or a loved one have been a victim of distracted truck drivers. We will investigate the accident to identify its cause and do our best to prove the truck driver’s negligence. Our team will try their best to get you the best possible outcome for your case. You may contact us for a free consultation anytime by calling us or chatting with us online at our website.
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