Distracted Driving Is a Major Factor in Truck Accidents
I’m Ed Smith, a Fresno truck accident lawyer. Distracted driving has become a number one killer on the roads. While the chance of being seriously injured or killed in passenger vehicle accidents is considerable, the odds are higher when a truck is involved due to its weight and size.
Distracted Driving: The Basics
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted driving involves participation in any activity that takes a driver’s attention away from the road. Approximately 3,500 individuals died in 2015, and about 391,000 were seriously injured due to distracted driving. In response to the numbers of people killed and injured, new laws in California have increased the penalties associated with cell phone use while driving. Since somewhere around 660,000 drivers use their cell phones every day while traveling, this puts other drivers at an enormous risk. However, distracted driving is far more pervasive and can include eating while driving, putting on makeup, tuning the radio or checking GPS as well as using a CB radio.
Type of Distracted Driving
Dividing a driver’s attention from the road and another area of concentration impacts safety when driving. Consider that texting or using a cell phone requires that a driver use cognitive attention and visual and manual abilities to dial or send a text. In fact, texting doubles the chance that an accident will happen.
In order to look at a cell phone, a driver must divert their eyes from the road for 4.6 seconds. At 55 mph, the vehicle will have traveled 370 feet in that time. For perspective, consider that the average football field is slightly shorter than that distance.
Each year, about 5,000 passenger vehicle occupants are killed in truck accidents. Alternately, 700 occupants of trucks are involved in fatal accidents. Part of the problem is that truckers use electronic devices often to stay in communication with their home company or to monitor directions or other criteria. Despite being trained to do this, the risk of distracted attention is not decreased. Traveling 370 feet to stop with a full cargo load puts additional pressure on a trucker. For instance, stopping a truck that weighs 80,000 pounds is much harder and requires more space than doing the same maneuver in a smaller passenger vehicle.
It has been shown in several studies that inexperienced, younger truckers are more apt to take additional risks using electronics while driving. Having grown up in an era when electronics were widely used, such drivers may have developed a false sense of confidence about their ability to do so. In addition, inexperienced drivers may not know how to pull their truck out of a dangerous trajectory such as on a curve. The bottom line is that truckers spend many hours driving, and to prevent boredom, some turn to activities that will divert their attention away from driving.
Truckers and bus drivers have been banned from using cell phones while driving since 2010 by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. If a driver disobeys the regulation, they may be disqualified from driving or subject to fines of $2,750 for drivers. Employers also pay a fine up to $11,000 for allowing truckers to use a device that is handheld.
Fresno Truck Accident Lawyer
I’m Ed Smith, a Fresno car accident lawyer. If you have been injured by a distracted driver or if a family member has been killed due to distracted driving, call me at (559) 377-7676 or outside the calling area on my toll-free number (800) 404-5400 for free and friendly advice.
Members of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum are trial attorneys with verdicts/settlements of $1 million or more. I am a California member of the forum.
Autoaccident.com is the website I founded and own. It offers useful and important information about types of personal injury law.
Photo Attribution: https://pixabay.com/en/crash-test-frontal-collision-1620603/
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