The American Automobile Association has indicated that, on average, every driver spends around 50% of his or her time focused on other things apart from driving. While this statistic is scary for any vehicle, large commercial motor vehicles present an ever present danger. If your office is the inside of a tractor-trailer, you are presented with even more time for distraction.
Even before cell phones came into use, drivers on long haul journeys who make a living driving semi-trucks or 18-wheelers would find distractions such as adjusting their radios or eating a meal. However, the advent of cell phones and the capability to put the internet in the palm of your hand has taken distracted driving to a whole new level.
The Definition of Distracted Driving
The U.S. Department of Transportation states that there are different forms of distracted driving which relate to all types of drivers, including semi-trucks and 18-wheelers. They are:
- Manual Distraction: which is when the driver takes his or her hands off the steering wheel to do another task;
- Cognitive Distraction: which is when the mind is focusing on something else rather than driving;
- Visual Distraction: when something is seen off the road which distracts the driver.
Distracted Driving While Using A Cell Phone Harms Thousands
The use of cell phones has driven accident statistics from distracted driving up over the last few years, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In 2012, there were 3,328 fatalities due to distracted driving with around 421,000 injuries. These statistics include all motor vehicles, such as autos, 18-wheelers and semi-trucks. Education seems to have had little effect on the reduction of these statistics, at least in the short term.
Some of the most common distracted driving behavior includes the use of a cell phone, grooming hair, fingernails, drinking, eating and holding a conversation with a passenger. Texting has been found to be the most dangerous distracted driving activity of them all.
Distracted 18-Wheeler and Semi-Truck Drivers
There is no doubt that texting in a small auto is a potentially dangerous pursuit, but if the driver is operating a very large vehicle, any accident can cause serious injury or death. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) enforces an administrative rule which prohibits any commercial vehicle driver from using a cell phone or texting while driving.
This means no texting, no emailing, no internet surfing, nor even holding a cell phone is permitted. The FMCSA has concluded that commercial truck drivers who text are more than twenty times more likely to become involved in either an accident or a near miss than those drivers who do not use a cell phone at all while driving.
If you have been injured in an 18-wheeler or tractor-trailer accident in Missouri, you may be entitled to file a personal injury claim against the trucking company responsible for your accident. Tractor-trailers are equipped with on board devices that record the trucks speed, braking distance, and other vital data. These recorders must be preserved and the information downloaded immediately after a crash. Failure to do so may risk the data being overwritten or destroyed. The Dixon Injury Firm’s truck accident lawyers will help make sure this data is obtained immediately after a crash to protect your case. Call us today for a FREE Consultation at (314) 409-7060. Ask about our NO FEE Guarantee.