The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has prohibited the use of mobile devices and texting by bus drivers and semi truck drivers while they are operating large semi trucks or commercial motor vehicles. However, many companies and drivers are not aware of the existence of this law and continue to violate the regulations put in place by the FMCSA.
If you or a loved one were injured in a semi truck accident and you are considering taking action, contact the affiliated attorneys at the American Injury Attorney Group. We will do our best to see that the distracted driver penalties and your compensation are appropriate for both your injuries and the damages you incurred as the result of the accident.
Distracted Driver Penalties Issued
The FMCSA has recently released drastic distracted driver penalties, perhaps in an effort to fight against this widespread disregard for the current ban on cell phone use while driving. According to the FMCSA:
- Violations will negatively affect Safety Measurement System (SMS) ratings
- The driver’s employer may be liable for an additional $11,000
- The driver or trucker may be liable for a civil fine of a maximum of $2,750
- If a semi truck driver continues to text while driving or has multiple convictions, he or she may lose the right to operate commercial vehicles for up to 120 days.
The prohibition on cell phones does not, however, apply to devices used for dispatching. However, these devices are only acceptable if they are used as part of the fleet management system. In other words, drivers cannot use dispatching devices for other purposes, including texting.
Consequences of Distracted Driving
Unfortunately, semi truck drivers continue to ignore the law and choose to text or make phone calls while operating their vehicles. Those whose attention is not focused on the road may cause serious injury or death if they cause an accident. While distracted driver penalties exist to help sway semi truck drivers from texting in the first place, such penalties may not be enough to help victims or surviving family members who lose a loved one due to a distracted driver. If you feel that you have a claim, consider seeking legal counsel from experienced attorneys today.
According to the FMCSA, drivers of semi trucks are 23.2 times more likely to cause an accident if they are driving and texting, most likely due to the sheer size and weight of the trucks themselves; if a driver loses control, it is often more difficult to regain that control before an accident occurs. Additionally, statistics show that distracted drivers looked away from the road for roughly 4.6 seconds; for a driver traveling at 55 miles per hour, those 4.6 seconds would equal 371 feet or the length of one football field.
The idea of a semi truck driver traveling the full length of a football field with his eyes not on the road and operating an 80,000-pound vehicle can be horrifying. However, distracted driving is one of the most common causes of semi truck accidents across the U.S., and the FMCSA has recognized the dangers of such occurrences. Its distracted driver penalties pertain to those who are not only physically texting but those who are reading texts as well. For the purposes of the regulation, a “text” includes web access, instant messaging, email, SMS or any other form of entering or receiving electronic messages.
When everyday drivers consider distracted driving, the pictures that most often come to mind are the businessman talking on the cell phone, the mother turning around to break up a fight in the backseat, or the teenager fiddling with the volume on his new speakers. However, distracted driving is also common among commercial drivers, and accidents are often more deadly due to the weight and size of the trucks themselves. If you are injured, it is important to contact experienced attorneys who will help you to file a claim and recover compensation for your condition.
Involved in an Accident? Contact Our Attorneys Today
If you or a loved one was injured in an accident and you feel that a distracted driver was the cause, contact the affiliated attorneys at the American Injury Attorney Group today for more information about distracted driver penalties and whom you may hold accountable for your injuries. We will review your case and connect you with experienced attorneys who will help you to seek the compensation to which you may be entitled. Our team of attorneys understands the severity of such accidents and will attempt to see that the distracted driver penalties are appropriate for your accident.
Visit our page on Trucking Accident Lawyers for more information