A Federal ban on texting was enacted by the Department of Transportation in an attempt to lessen the distractions truck drivers are exposed to. The truck driver who texts while driving down the highway increases his or her chances of causing a truck accident by a whopping 20 times. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has determined a texting truck driver removes his or her eyes from the road for 4.6 seconds out of every 6 seconds. A truck, driving 55 mph can travel the length of a football field during that that time, without a single glance at the road by the driver.
Even dialing a cell phone makes it 5.9 times more likely that a truck driver will cause an accident, and attempting to look at a map while driving makes it 8.9 times more likely the truck driver will be responsible for causing an accident. Although the penalties for texting are stiff, it can be difficult for police to catch distracted truckers. If caught, two or more texting offenses can lead to a loss of the truck driver’s commercial license and one offense can result in a $2,750 fine. The trucking company which allows its drivers to ignore this federal ban could find themselves slapped with a fine as large as $11,000.
Truck Driver Fatigue—Pervasive and Deadly
Another form of truck driver distraction—and one of the more dangerous—comes as trucker fatigue. Despite the fact Federal rules reduced the number of hours truck drivers can drive at any one time (from 12 hours to 11), many believe that number needs to be decreased even more. The Department of Transportation places fatigue-related trucking accidents at 13% of the total accidents, however fatigue is typically under-reported during a crash investigation as neither the trucking company nor the trucker want to admit fault.
Pressures Faced by Truck Drivers
Truck drivers are under enormous pressure to deliver loads as quickly as possible, then make it to their next loading station to start another trip. Since drivers only get paid when behind the wheel they have little motivation to pay strict attention to the Federal allowable hours of service. Trucking companies tend to look the other way, even when they know their drivers are driving too many hours in order to improve their financial bottom line.
Contact our Denver Trucking Accident Lawyers
Those who are harmed by a distracted or fatigued truck driver should speak with a knowledgeable Denver truck driving attorney who can ensure their rights and their future are properly and legally protected. Contact Gregory A. Gold of the Gold Law Firm today for a free consultation at (303) 694-4653.