Most of us are aware of the dangers of distracted driving. These dangers can be even more serious when a truck driver engages in them because of the size disparity between commercial vehicles and passenger vehicles and the catastrophic harm truck accidents can cause. There are important rules related to truck drivers and distracted driving and cell phone use that truck drivers and other motorists should be aware of to help ensure the safety of everyone on the roadways.

The United States Department of Transportation has made a push to end distracted driving. In addition to distracted driving-related rules already in place for truck drivers, drivers transporting certain hazardous materials are prohibited from using hand-held cell phones while they are driving their vehicles. In general, commercial motor vehicle drivers are also prohibited from texting while driving. Included in the prohibition is any activity that is in excess of pushing a single button to begin or terminate a call. They are not permitted to email, message or bring up web pages while driving.

Commercial motor vehicle drivers are only permitted to use a cell phone that is near them and hands free. They cannot reach for a cell phone, hold a cell phone or push multiple buttons on a cell phone while driving. Drivers are required to use an ear piece, voice commands and locate the phone where it is safe to touch while the driver is properly restrained. Commercial motor vehicle drivers can face fines for violations of distracted driver-related rules and driver disqualification for multiple violations. Employers of truck drivers may also face penalties and consequences for violations. Because of the serious nature of truck accidents, legal resources are also available to victims who have been harmed and violations of governing rules may be used as evidence that the truck driver was negligent or careless in causing the harm the victim suffered.

The odds of being involved in an incident that threatens safety are increased by 23 times when truck drivers text while driving. Victims of truck accidents may suffer serious injuries, in addition to financial and emotional damages, which is why legal options are available to help them recover compensation for their damages.

Source: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, “Distracted Driving,” Accessed Oct. 18, 2016