Distracted driving is one of the most serious problems plaguing the roads of Columbus and the rest of Ohio. However, it’s not just drivers of passenger vehicles, vans, pickup trucks, and SUVs who can get distracted. Truck drivers can get distracted too.
Even though the trucking industry is a leader in Ohio, it is still important to understand the dangers of distracted truck driving. Did you know, for example, that a driver will use 37% less of their brain energy when they talk on a mobile device while driving? If the driver decides to send a text message while traveling at 55 MPH, they will travel the length of a football field before putting their eyes back on the road.
Now, think about a distracted truck driver barreling down the highway. Most commercial trucks weigh upwards of 80,000 pounds. Some of these trucks are hauling fuel, while others are hauling hazardous chemicals or other dangerous items. A distracted driver truck accident can lead to serious consequences for everyone involved.
What can cause truck drivers in Columbus to get distracted?
Truck drivers are not immune to suffering from distractions while operating their commercial rigs. Some of those distractions can include the following:
- Using a mobile phone to make a call, send a text, read an email, or browse the web
- Using a GPS or reading a map
- Brushing their hair or shaving
- Eating or drinking
- Reading the newspaper
- Talking to a passenger
- Gazing at nature as you drive by trees, bodies of water, and animals
- Changing the station on the radio or changing CDs
Many commercial truck drivers might turn to these distractions when on the road for a long time without much human interaction. Boredom can lead to a lot of dangerous decisions by truck drivers.
What are the distracted driving laws for commercial truck drivers?
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has rules in place for commercial truck drivers when it comes to distractions while on the road. The first of those rules is that commercial drivers are not permitted to send or receive text messages while driving. The commercial drivers who must follow this ban include interstate truck drivers, bus drivers, and drivers who transport hazardous materials.
On the other hand, commercial truck drivers are permitted to use a mobile device to make or receive a phone call. However, the driver cannot hold the device at any time while driving. The phone must be mounted somewhere near the driver’s seat. The driver cannot hold the phone to dial a phone number. They must be able to make a call by pressing just one button. They must also be able to operate the phone while still properly restrained in their seat.
Drivers who violate these commercial rules face fines of up to $2,750 and could lose their commercial driver’s license (CDL). Motor carriers who encourage their drivers to violate these rules, or who look the other way, face fines up to $11,000.
Determining fault in a Columbus, OH distracted truck driver accident
You might think that fault is cut and dry in a distracted driver truck accident case. However, it might not be because multiple parties can wind up being held accountable for the crash. In some truck accident cases, you might be able to hold the truck driver, the trucking company, the shipper, and others liable for their negligence.
Aside from filing a civil claim against the truck driver, you might also be able to seek compensation from the truck company that hired the driver. The trucking company is responsible for the behavior and training of the driver, as well as ensuring that they follow all of the rules of the road.
An experienced Columbus truck accident lawyer will know what type of evidence to acquire to help build a case for compensation on your behalf. Some of the evidence that is used in these cases includes the following:
- Eyewitness testimony
- Cell phone records
- ELD recordings
- Traffic camera footage
Your attorney will search the area where the accident occurred for businesses that might have exterior security cameras that could have captured the crash. Your attorney will also request the footage from any traffic cameras in the area. These cameras might have captured the truck driver holding their mobile device at the time of the crash, which can go a long way towards helping your case succeed.
Compensation you can seek in a truck accident claim in Columbus
The injuries you suffer in a truck accident caused by a distracted truck driver will determine how much compensation you might be able to recover in a claim. For example, the more serious your injuries, the higher the amount of compensation you can recover. The damages you can claim because of a truck accident include the following:
- Pain and suffering
- Medical expenses
- Costs to renovate your home to make it wheelchair accessible
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earnings
- Funeral and burial expenses if you suffered the loss of a loved one in the crash
This is not an exhaustive list of damages you can recover compensation for when you file a claim. You should always speak with an experienced Columbus truck accident attorney about your case to learn more.
Were you or a loved one injured in a truck accident caused by a distracted truck driver? If so, you deserve to be compensated for your losses. The distracted truck driver accident attorneys at Soroka & Associates, LLC, can review your case and fight for your right to compensation. Call our office, or submit our contact form to schedule a free initial consultation at our Columbus office. We represent clients throughout Central Ohio who have been injured in any type of accident.