Truck Accidents Due to Distracted Driving

Tractor-trailer accidents are common in Maryland, but they don’t have to be.

Unfortunately, many of these accidents are caused by distracted, inattentive drivers. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) says 71% of tractor-trailer accidents stem from driving while distracted, and the most common culprit is cell phone use.

Fiddling with a phone reduces the trucker’s attention to the road by 37%, and distracted truckers are 70% more likely to become involved in a collision with other drivers. These grave numbers show why the FMCSA charges drivers up to $2,750 per distracted driving offense.

If a distracted truck driver injured you or your loved ones in a crash, you need the best legal representation to hold the trucking company accountable. If you have questions, the distracted driver truck accident lawyers at Pinder Plotkin are ready to help.

The Importance of Trucking Safety Regulations

Semi-trucks are the largest, heaviest vehicles on public roads. Unfortunately, this means they are usually the most dangerous. As a result, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has strict truck weight and size limits. It also set up rigorous qualifications and guidelines for drivers running commercial trucks. Some of these rules include hours of service regulations and drug and alcohol screening.

A strict FMCSA rule also bans truckers from using cell phones while driving. If a trucker wants to use a phone while driving, he must have a speaker phone, use voice-activated dialing, or have a hands-free phone.

Do you suspect a truck driver was chatting on a cell phone before injuring you? Tell your personal injury attorney who can subpoena the driver’s cell phone records. If this can be proven, there is a good chance of receiving compensation in a claim.

How Do Truckers Get Distracted While Driving?

Truck drivers are especially at risk for driving distracted because they spend so much time behind the wheel. Driving experts report four significant kinds of driver distraction which cause many Maryland truck accidents:

  • When the trucker looks at anything except the road, such as the passenger or cell phone.
  • Listening to anything besides traffic, such as music or a phone conversation.
  • Adjusting anything in the cab, such as changing the GPS or a mirror.
  • Thinking about things that have nothing to do with driving.

Common Types of Truck Driver Distractions

Truckers spend long hours on Maryland roads. They are always required to pay attention to the road, but some drivers get distracted to relieve boredom. After a truck crash, our Pinder Plotkin attorneys will look for several forms of possible distraction by the driver:

  • Texting or using cell phones. Almost 10% of fatal truck crashes involve a driver using a cell phone at the time of the incident.
  • Reading maps or using GPS. Most truckers have GPS in their cabs. They make it easier to find their way, but they also can distract attention from the road.
  • Eating or drinking. Truck drivers may eat or drink while driving, so they don’t have to stop.
  • Truckers are under a tight schedule and may groom their hair and bodies behind the wheel.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) realizes how hazardous distracted driving is for truck drivers, so it is illegal for truckers to text and drive. While drivers can talk on the phone, a hands-free device must be near the driver’s seat. They cannot hold the phone while the rig is in motion.

If the truck driver is caught texting and driving, he could be fined up to $2,750 and even lose his commercial driver’s license. In Maryland, it also is illegal for all drivers to use cell phones without a hands-free component. But, again, this goes for regular drivers and those with a commercial driver’s license.

How to Prove Truck Driver Distraction in Maryland

Your experienced Maryland truck crash attorney will first explore any evidence suggesting a distracted driver caused the crash. Some of the things your attorney can do are:

  • Hire an accident reconstruction expert to show how the accident happened. If there is evidence of driver distraction, this will be uncovered.
  • Talk to eyewitnesses who may have seen the trucker texting on his phone.
  • Obtain access to the security footage to see if the driver was inattentive when the crash happened.
  • Review the trucker’s black box or data recorder. It may show if the driver was attentive to driving before the crash. The black box is in the hands of the trucking firm, so your lawyer will issue a spoliation letter asking that all data related to your case be saved.
  • Subpoena cellphone records to verify if the truck driver was texting or talking when the crash happened.

Talk to a Truck Crash Attorney In Maryland

You’ll probably be shocked after a truck crash. Get checked by seeing a doctor for injuries, then call a Maryland truck accident attorney immediately. If distracted driving were a factor in the crash, your attorney would work diligently to uncover it and hold the trucker accountable. Contact our distracted truck driver attorneys at Pinder Plotkin today to discuss your accident claim.

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