Distracted Commercial Drivers
Despite their reputation as the best drivers on the road, commercial motor vehicle operators could be the original distracted drivers. Long before cell phones, CB Radios kept truckers connected to each other—and distracted. Even though the CB had few buttons to push, it was hardly hands free. Additionally, since long-haul truckers live and conduct business in their cab, activities such as eating, drinking hot coffee, doing paperwork, and even checking out the sights while driving have long been problems. Then came the cell phone . . .
The Danger of Cell Phones
The advent of the cell phone meant that truckers didn’t have to stop to place a call to their dispatcher. Cell phones connected truckers to the rest of the world but also became another distraction. Texting became mainstream around the year 2000 and surpassed telephone calls as the dominant mode of communication in 2007. Texting while driving became the ultimate distraction.
In 2010, the Federal agency that regulates commercial trucking, the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) passed a rule “limiting the use of wireless devices” and in 2014 announced “New texting and mobile phone restrictions for commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers.” The FMCSA seems proud of the announcement despite the lag time between acknowledging the problem and passing any meaningful regulations.
Trucks and cars travelling at 70 mph may appear most of the time to play well together but even a slight disagreement during a lane change would show how tenuous the truce is between these two vehicles. Their compatibility is an illusion. Truck – car accidents usually result in catastrophic injuries or death, with the car absorbing the worst of it.
Who Started it?
Even though truckers are anxious to blame these accidents on the car, they are like any other accident; negligence played a major role. As mentioned above, CMV operators are susceptible to distractions, the same as any driver. However, trucks don’t respond or maneuver as well as a car. A minor distraction, even a glance, is much more difficult to correct in a timely manner.
Also, trucks are more susceptible to mechanical failures that result in accidents. When trucks are inadequately maintained or if owners cut corners on tires and other, essential items, they create circumstances that even the best driver can’t overcome. Fleet owners that cut maintenance corners become liable for injuries caused by their negligence.
Dealing With the Aftermath
Everything involving a truck is bigger, including the legal aftermath of an accident.
When anyone has been in an accident involving a commercial truck, they will not only have to confront their injuries and property loss, they will be facing a cadre of attorneys representing the insurance companies of the driver, truck owner, and any maintenance companies. These attorneys go to work immediately after the accident in an attempt to absolve their clients of liability.
Victims of a truck accident may feel like their whole world has collapsed, but they do have an important benefit available to them. Because truck accident attorneys only collect fees from the settlement they win, truck accident victims are able to retain an experienced, knowledgeable, and skilled attorney to fight for their just compensation and legal rights. Since initial consultations are free, victims of truck accidents can relax and focus on their recovery.