Updated February 17, 2021

Distracted Truck Driving Accidents: Causes, Statistics, and FMCSA Policies

Distracted Truck Driving Accidents

There are many contributing factors when it comes to accidents, with distracted driving being one of the most common. New drivers—including truck drivers—are much more alert and focused on the road than after a certain level of comfortable is found behind the wheel, which can lead to the introduction of distractions. Unfortunately, distracted truck driving accidents occur frequently, but there are ways to minimize the possibility of them happening. 

FMCSA Regulations 

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) enforces safety regulations specifically for trucking. Their primary goal is to reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities involving semi-trucks or other large-bodied trucks and buses. The FMCSA has specific policies on distracted driving for truckers including a cell phone policy and texting/mobile device restrictions.

Cell Phone Policy

The FMCSA has implemented rules prohibiting interstate truck drivers and bus drivers who transport hazardous materials from texting or any use of mobile phones while operating their vehicles. So, what qualifies as texting while driving? According to the FMCSA’s policy, texting is any form of manually entering or reading alphanumeric text from a mobile device. Even the dial of a single button on your mobile electronic device can result in a violation of this policy.

If drivers are caught violating the rules, they can face up to $2,750 in fines, and in escalated cases of multiple offenses, disqualification from driving. If a motor company is caught allowing their vehicle operators to use mobile phones while driving, they may also face a penalty of up to $11,000.

In accordance with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the United States Department of Transportation prohibits commercial driver license holders from using cell phones while driving.

 How to Prevent Distracted Truck Driving

With a little forethought and discipline, it’s possible to prevent or minimize distracted driving. Steps to reduce the possibility of distracted driving include the following:

  • Avoid multi-tasking while behind the wheel
  • Avoid eating or drinking while driving
  • No cell phone use while driving
  • Be aware of and prepared for road conditions
  • Make any adjustments to mirrors, seats, etc. before beginning your drive 

Types of Driver Distractions

Distractions can come in many forms, some of which you may not even realize are distracting you from the road. Any of these activities can be considered distractions while driving:

  • Talking to passengers
  • Adjusting your seat, mirrors, navigation system, or radio
  • Eating
  • Drinking
  • Using headphones
  • Mental or emotional distractions such as stress
  • Using your phone to talk, text, read, take photographs or videos, or listen to music

If you are doing anything which takes your eyes and/or mind off the road, it is considered a distraction to your driving.

 Steps to Take Following an Accident

If you have been involved in an accident due to distracted driving, it is important to remain calm. Following specific steps will ensure you stay safe as well as any others involved in the accident.

  1. Stay calm and get to safety, or remain in your vehicle if you are safer there
  2. Check yourself for injuries as well as any others nearby (if able)
  3. Call 911 to alert authorities
  4. Document the accident by taking notes, photos, etc.
  5. Collect and exchange information with other driver(s) and any witnesses
  6. Seek medical attention
  7. Inform your insurance company
  8. Contact the attorneys at Wilson Kehoe Winingham

Liability

If an accident is caused by a distracted truck driver, the fault will typically fall on the driver, or in some cases, the trucking company. Liability is determined on a case-by-case basis. Reach out to WKW today for a no-obligation case evaluation.

Contact an Indiana Truck Accident Lawyer Today

The attorneys at Wilson Kehoe Winingham have years of experience in auto and truck accidents. Serving clients throughout the greater Indianapolis area, we can provide you with the legal assistance you need. If you or a loved one has experienced a semi-truck accident as a result of distracted driving, contact WKW today. Call 317.920.6400 or fill out an online contact form for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.

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