Kansas City, MO Attorneys for Distracted Driving Truck Accidents
With commercial truck drivers traveling 100,000 miles or more each year, it is easy to see why so many of them give in to distractions. From conducting business to watching movies, in recent years there has been a disturbing trend in truck drivers taking their eyes and minds off of the road. With the sheer size and weight of tractor trailers and other commercial vehicles, it should come as no surprise that truck accidents caused by distracted driving have serious â€“ and often fatal â€“ consequences.
At Horn Law, we are dedicated to helping victims of truck accidents fight for just compensation. Federal rules that have been in place since 2010 ban truck drivers from using cell phones and other wireless devices behind the wheel. These rules were put in place in response to research commissioned by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) which showed that truck drivers who text behind the wheel are 23 times more likely to cause an accident or other â€œsafety-critical event.â€
Unfortunately, many truck drivers do not follow these rules â€“ as made clear by the number of distracted-driving related injuries and fatalities we continue to see in truck accidents each year.
Dangers of Driving Distractions for Truck Drivers
Distractions are dangerous for any driver, but truck drivers who drive while distracted typically create the biggest risks. Statistics show that a disproportionate number of truck-related accidents result in serious and fatal injuries. In addition, there are a number of factors unique to truck drivers that can put them at greater risk for causing accidents when they get distracted. For example:
- Many truck drivers lack sufficient training and experience to respond to safety-critical events caused by even momentary distractions.
- Truck drivers who log long hours may suffer from fatigue, which can slow their reaction time.
- Truckers who turn to drugs and alcohol to cope with the challenges of their job may be unable to react to safety-critical events when they lose focus on the road.
- When a truck is carrying heavy cargo, even a fully-trained driver may be unable to prevent an accident after giving in to a driving distraction.
In these and other situations, when a truckerâ€™s distracted driving causes an accident, injury victims are entitled to financial compensation.
Distractions that Commonly Cause Truck Accidents
Truck drivers face the same temptations as car drivers when it comes to using their cell phones behind the wheel. Whether to help fight boredom over a long haul down a Midwestern highway or to keep pace with other job-related duties, it is well-known that many truckers frequently use their cell phones while logging miles on the road.
Of course, truck drivers were getting distracted well before the advent of cell phones, and other â€œtraditionalâ€ distractions continue to be problems as well. Common distractions that regularly lead to truck accidents include:
- Talking on the phone. While the federal rules targeting trucking safety distinguish between handheld and hands-free cell phone use, studies have shown that hands-free calling is just as dangerous as talking into a hand-held phone. Whether for work or to catch up with friends or family, many truckers spend a significant amount of time talking behind the wheel.
- Texting and sending emails. Despite the federal rules outlawing texting by commercial truck drivers, texting and sending emails continue to be major distractions.
- Navigating with maps or GPS. With trucks traveling the length of a football field in under five seconds at highway speeds, navigating can present significant dangers for truckers and the drivers and passengers around them.
- Eating and drinking. To stay on schedule, truck drivers regularly eat and drink on the road. This means that their hands arenâ€™t on the wheel.
- Adjusting the radio or setting a playlist. These too are activities that take driversâ€™ hands off of the wheel and eyes off of the road.
As yet another layer of concern, reports show that truck drivers are also now using laptops and other technologies to help fight boredom on long drives. Truckers have even been caught watching movies behind the wheel.
What to Do after a Distracted Driving Truck Accident
If you have been injured in a truck accident, the most important things to do are (1) seek prompt medical attention, and (2) speak with an attorney right away. At Horn Law, we provide rapid response for victims of distracted driving accidents. In these types of situations, it is critically important to conduct a thorough investigation as soon as possible. Doug Horn, lead attorney at Horn Law, has over 25 years of experience in auto accident litigation and can help ensure that you have the best chance to obtain maximum compensation for your losses.
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