With the rapid development and accessibility of hand-held technology, distracted driving is an increasingly dangerous epidemic across America. We are becoming all too familiar with the national statistics:
(1) Approximately 660,000 drivers across America are using cell phones or manipulating electronic devices while driving on our roads each day.
(2) Drivers who text while driving are twenty-three times more likely than non-texters to be involved in a crash or a near-accident.
However, it is important to acknowledge that distracted driving not only increases the likelihood of an accident caused by ordinary motor vehicle drivers, but by commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers as well. And as the size of these machines increases, their capacity to cause damage in the event of an accident skyrockets.
Distracted Truck Drivers
The CMV industry is an integral part of our national economy. Interstate trucks are the primary method for manufacturers and distributors to deliver their goods to market, and travel by bus or train are major methods of daily transportation for American commuters. United States drivers should be aware of the increasing danger that distracted commercial drivers present to our roadways.
The increasing risk that distracted CMV driving presents prompted the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to ban commercial truck and bus drivers from texting while driving in September 2010, and one year later to ban all hand-held cellphone use by commercial drivers in November 2011. CMV drivers and their employers found to violate this federal ban while operating in interstate commerce face a variety of consequences, including hefty fines, civil penalties and disqualification from operating CMVs in interstate commerce.
While prohibitions on texting and use of handheld electronic devices imposed on motor vehicle drivers vary from state to state, the Department of Transportation’s FMCSA has determined it necessary to impose a national ban on our CMV drivers. The sheer size and weight of a commercial vehicle coupled with its capacity to cause major injury and damage provides a plausible basis for a ban of national scope. Commercial vehicle drivers now have a federally-imposed duty as well as a civic responsibility to avoid distracted driving caused by cell phone use and texting.
Awareness of the dangers of distracted commercial vehicle driving is on the rise, thanks to the FMCSA national ban and related initiatives. However, the threat of distracted driving remains a threat to your public safety. Under the civil law, all those harmed in whole or in part by the misconduct of others can hold responsible parties accountable for their actions. That includes commercial drivers who are distracted while behind the wheel, the owners of the involved trucking companies, and others.
Contact an Attorney Today
If you or someone you know has been involved in an accident with a distracted commercial motor vehicle driver, you may be entitled to compensation. The accident attorneys at Solnick & Associates, LLC are here to help if you or a loved one is ever hurt in this situation. Contact us for a confidential consultation.