Distracted driving continues to be a significant problem on our nation’s roadways. Distracted driving is, of course, extremely dangerous. When professional drivers, such as truckers, engage in distracted driving, the situation becomes that much more dangerous. Trucks are involved in some of the most horrifying accidents on our roads, and when truckers drive distracted they exacerbate the problem.
Distracted Driving in Indianapolis, Indiana
We’re all guilty of tearing our eyes off the road from time to time, and it’s never a good idea. While it’s one thing to change the radio station or crank up the heat, it’s quite another to interface with your smartphone while you drive. Distracted driving, in fact, has become such an issue that the U.S. government has created a website devoted entirely to the subject, distraction.gov.
Distracted driving is characterized as driving while allowing one’s attention to be distracted from the task at hand—driving safely. Distracted driving is broken down into three primary categories of distraction:
- Distractions that are visual in nature and that engage the driver’s vision
- Distractions that are manual in nature and that engage the driver’s hands
- Distractions that are cognitive in nature and that engage the driver’s thought processes
The governmental website highlights a variety of common driver distractions:
- Eating and/or drinking
- Conversing with passengers
- Grooming oneself
- Engaging with a navigation system
- Adjusting the radio, another music player, the heating system, or the air conditioning system
- Reading maps (or anything else)
- Watching a video
- Taking or making calls on one’s smartphone
If a distracted truck driver injured you, you need an experienced truck accident attorney. These cases are complicated, but your rights and your rightful compensation matter. The skilled truck accident attorneys at the Law Office of William W. Hurst have the experience, knowledge, and dedication to help guide your claim toward the compensation to which you are entitled.
Texting While Driving
Texting is something of a trifecta when it comes to distractions. Texting engages your vision, your hands, and your thought processes. When drivers choose to engage with their smart phones when they should be concentrating solely on their driving, they endanger everyone on the road.
The dangers associated with truckers that text are so significant that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) prohibits commercial truck drivers from texting while driving. Further, the FMCSA qualifies what constitutes texting, which involves manually entering alphanumeric text into, or reading text from, an electronic device. This includes, but is not limited to, short message services, e-mailing, instant messaging. . . or pressing more than a single button to initiate or terminate a voice communication using a mobile phone. In other words, the FMCSA prohibits truckers from engaging with their smartphones in nearly any way other than that of pressing a single button. The federal government takes the dangers presented by distracted truckers very seriously.
Truckers can be fined up to $2,750 for a texting infraction and can also be divested of their professional driving qualifications. The FMCSA bases this texting ban on research that suggests truckers who text while driving are 23.2 times more likely to be involved in a collision (or safety-critical event). Further, the research highlights the fact that drivers’ eyes leave the road for an average of 4.6 seconds when they text, which translates to about 360 feet of driving blind. Because large semis typically carry extremely heavy loads, their stopping-distance requirements are far greater than those of noncommercial vehicles, which exacerbates the potential dangers of trucking while distracted.
While texting is the Mt. Everest of distraction, there are other trucker distractions that contribute to the risk of being involved in an accident (in order of risk after texting):
- Engaging in a complex task (such as cleaning a side mirror)
- Engaging with a dispatch device
- Logging information by writing on a pad or notebook
- Using a calculator
- Reading a map or paperwork
- Dialing a cell phone
Most of these distractions are part and parcel of a trucker’s job, but these tasks are meant to be completed when the trucker isn’t behind the wheel. The trucking industry, however, is fast paced, and many truckers are pushed beyond their scheduling limitations, which can lead to multitasking and distracted driving.
Why Distracted Truck Drivers Are so Dangerous
Truckers man massive vehicles that, when fully loaded, can hit 80,000 pounds. When such a behemoth crashes with a vehicle that’s many, many times smaller, there’s little hope of the incident being anything less than an utter catastrophe. These giants of the road are also a lot to handle—it can take immense skill to right a small miscalculation in driving, and when seconds of distraction are added to the equation, it can lead to disaster. If a trucker has to swerve to right an error or to avoid an accident, the action can result in a jackknifed or overturned rig, which represents some of the most extreme dangers on our roads.
Big rigs are massive, and they’re difficult to handle. In fact, even small trucking errors can lead to major accidents. For these very important reasons, truckers are held to stricter federal standards when it comes to distracted driving. If you or a loved one has been injured (or worse) by a distracted truck driver, you need experienced legal counsel.
If a Distracted Truck Driver Injured You, Contact Our Office Today to Consult with an Indianapolis Truck Accident Lawyer
If a distracted trucker has caused you to be injured, you know just how traumatic such an accident can be. Big rigs are involved in some of the most treacherous accidents on our nation’s roads, and distracted truckers pose a threat to everyone who shares those roads. Don’t leave your rights and your rightful compensation to chance; allow the experienced truck accident attorneys at the Law Office of William W. Hurst to help guide your claim to its most just conclusion. We have the skill, dedication, and compassion to aggressively advocate for you and your truck accident claim. We’re here to help, so please schedule a free consultation today by contacting us online or calling us at (317) 636-0808.