Truck drivers in California and around the country who allow themselves to become distracted are 23 times more likely to be involved in an accident according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, but the nature of the work encourages many of them to engage in this risky behavior. This is a serious concern for state and federal regulators because a semi-tractor trailer with a distracted driver behind the wheel poses a serious threat to the safety of other road users.
Truck driver distractions
Many truck drivers eat their meals while on the move in order to meet tight deadlines, which experts say is even more distracting than using a cellphone while driving. Most modern trucks feature devices that allow drivers to communicate directly with dispatchers, but using this equipment while in motion greatly increases the chances of crashing. Other common truck driver distractions include talking on CB radios, using the mapping features of cellphones or tablets to find alternative routes and programming navigation systems.
Truck drivers who cause accidents that result in death or serious injuries can face criminal penalties in California as well as civil lawsuits. In 2019, a truck driver who struck and killed two girls in a Los Angeles crosswalk was charged with vehicular manslaughter after admitting to police that he was using his cellphone to watch videos on YouTube at the time.
Gathering evidence of distraction
Investigations into truck accidents are usually thorough when lives have been lost or road users have been seriously injured, and the reports filed when these investigations have been completed may provide experienced personal injury attorneys with evidence that could be used to establish negligence in lawsuits filed on behalf of victims. Accident reports could reveal that the truck involved had not been properly maintained or its driver was using a cellphone when the crash occurred or was in violation of hours of service regulations.