It seems that distracted driving is the road hazard that simply will not go away. No matter the amount of television commercials, radio spots, legal consequences or occupational penalties, drivers are still tempted by the desire to multitask or perform other activities while behind the wheel. Unfortunately, any activity that pulls a driver’s attention from the road, eyes from the surroundings or hands from the steering wheel can lead to devastating motor vehicle collisions.
Even after countless hours of training, professional truck drivers are often tempted to pursue distracting activities while behind the wheel. While driving distractions can fall into categories such as visual, cognitive and manual distractions, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) specifically calls out the use of mobile devices when discussing distractions. They impose limits on truck drivers such as:
- No reaching
- No holding
- No dialing
- No texting
- No reading
While the term “texting” is usually reserved for the act of participating in a text-based conversation over the cell phone, the FMCSA regulations have expanded this definition. According to the FMCSA, texting is “manually entering alphanumeric text into, or reading text from, an electronic device.” In this scenario, pressing more than one button to initiate or terminate a call can be considered texting. Additionally, the FMCSA defines what it means to use a mobile device:
- The driver uses at least one hand to hold a cell phone and make a call.
- The driver dials a cell phone by pressing more than a single button.
- The driver reaches for a cell phone in a manner that requires him or her to no longer be in a seated position, retrained by a seat belt.
Distracted drivers can cause devastating vehicle collisions, resulting in catastrophic injuries. From head trauma and brain damage to paralysis and amputation, a wreck caused by an 18-wheeler can have catastrophic results for all the occupants of smaller passenger vehicles. If you were injured or you have lost a loved one in a collision caused by a negligent truck driver, do not hesitate to discuss your legal options for monetary recovery.