Fatal Truck Accident Highlights Distraction Among Truck Drivers
San Jose Distracted Driving Accident Attorney
Truck drivers spend long periods of time in their vehicles, especially interstate drivers, and sometimes they tend to use the cab of their truck as an extended office or home away from home. This means that they often engage in behaviors additional to driving, which can lead to tragic events in Santa Clara County and other parts of the state.
Earlier this year, a commercial driver caused a deadly truck accident outside of Davis on Interstate 80 after choking on food, according to KCRA. Two people died and two others were injured when the driver lost consciousness, sending his semi across the lanes, through the center divider and into an opposite lane of traffic. The truck hit two vehicles and then collided head-on with a third vehicle, killing the occupants.
Distraction and Commercial Drivers
The accident comes almost three years after a report was released by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration which focused on distraction and commercial drivers. The purpose of the study was to look at the role that distraction plays for accidents involving commercial vehicles. The study took information from two other studies which had been conducted on a national scale and then analyzed the data.
The FMCSA made several recommendations at the time in an effort to reduce distractive behaviors, which included:
- Changes in the design of panel control to reduce the amount of time a driver has to look away from the road.
- Efforts from fleet safety managers to educate commercial drivers as to the risks associated with distractive driving.
- Drivers be discouraged from using maps while driving.
- No manual dialing on cell phones.
- Stronger policies on the part of trucking companies and fleet safety managers that restrict what devices a commercial driver can bring into the cab of the truck.
In addition, the researchers examining the data found that texting should also be banned, as it heightened the risk for accidents.
FMCSA Putting More Focus on Distracted Driving
In 2010, the FMCSA banned texting among commercial bus and truck drivers and added hand-held cell phones to that ban in 2012, according to distraction.gov. The FMCSA is taking distracted driving behaviors seriously and encourages commercial drivers to be especially alert to anything that could take their eyes, mind and hands off of the task of driving.
For example, drivers are advised to avoid focusing on external objects as this can distract them from what is going on around them and could keep them from noticing that traffic has suddenly slowed down. Other recommendations from the FMCSA include avoiding eating or drinking while driving, smoking, talking on cell phones, using calculators or maps and playing with dash devices.
Recovering from a truck accident can include months of therapy, struggling with income loss and mounting medical debt. However, victims of distracted truck drivers have the right to seek appropriate compensation from trucking companies and the drivers, themselves. Speaking with an experienced truck accident attorney can prepare victims for the legal processes and help them obtain the financial help they need.