Truck Drivers and Distractions - A Recipe for Disaster
Some of the most terrible accidents on the road occur when a truck driver is distracted. Distractions can come in many forms, and the most common distraction is a driver's use of a cell phone. A driver talking on the phone or texting is a danger to other drivers on the road. Not only is the driver mentally distracted at that moment, but if they are on the phone or texting someone, then they likely do not have both hands on the steering wheel or even have their eyes on the road in front of them. The use of cell phones while driving is both a mental and a physical distraction. Truck drivers are often operating large vehicles with multiple trailers attached, so they are typically much larger in size than the average vehicle traveling on the road near them. For truck drivers and those on the road along with them, distracted driving is a recipe for disaster.
Due to the well-known dangers of distracted driving, many states have enacted various laws that prohibit or restrict the use of cell phones while driving. As of May 2017, there are fourteen states in the U.S. that prohibit the use of handheld cell phone devices while driving. Other states have laws that prohibit any use of a cell phone while driving only for specific groups of drivers, such as school bus drivers and novice drivers. When it comes to texting, forty-six states have laws that completely prohibit the act of texting while driving.
The penalties for both texting and driving and the use of handheld cell phones vary from state to state. The penalty for these acts can be anything from a small monetary fine to criminal misdemeanor charges. In certain circumstances, particularly when the use of a cell phone resulted in bodily injury or death to another driver, the penalty can include jail time. While these laws certainly cannot protect you from every possible distraction, a truck driver may face while on the road, these laws do provide some peace of mind.
If you have been injured in a car accident involving a truck driver whom you believe to have been distracted for any reason at the time of the collision, it is important for you to know your rights. The criminal penalties a distracted driver may face are not the only source of justice for you if you have been injured by a driver due to their negligence while on the road. You may be entitled to compensation for any bodily harm you may have suffered as a result of your car accident involving a distracted driver.
You have the right to bring a civil claim for damages you suffered as a result of the collision with the truck driver. The specific laws vary from state to state, but in general, you may be entitled to money for your medical bills incurred as a result of the collision along with an additional sum for pain and suffering. There is a time limit during which these claims can be brought which varies from state to state, so you’ll want to speak with an attorney right away if you’ve been injured in a collision involving a distracted truck driver and you wish to seek compensation.