Any driver who is distracted by his or her cell phone poses an injury risk to other people on the road, but a distracted truck driver can be especially dangerous. A semi-truck traveling at 55 miles per hour can take more than 5 seconds to come to a complete stop, but sending a text message can remove a driver’s attention from the road for at least this long, so a distracted truck driver may not even have the opportunity to start slowing down before a serious collision occurs. For this reason, cell phone use is strictly regulated for truck drivers throughout the U.S.
Cell Phone Regulations For Commercial Truck Drivers
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) prohibits truck drivers from not just sending and reading text messages and other electronic communication while driving, but all handheld cell phone use. This includes holding a phone while making a call, dialing that requires pressing more than one button, and reaching for a phone. Drivers who violate these restrictions can be fined up to $2,750 and disqualified from driving, and truck driver employers who fail to enforce these restrictions can be fined up to $11,000. Handheld cell phone use while driving is also a violation of California law in most cases, and can result in a fine of at least $20 for a first offense and $50 for additional offenses.
Pursuing Compensation from a Texting Truck Driver
These regulations and penalties may prevent many truck accidents, but if you are injured by a truck driver who was distracted by a cell phone, you can file a personal injury claim to further hold the driver accountable and pursue compensation for your damages. It is not always easy to demonstrate that a driver was distracted, but an attorney can help you collect crucial evidence that potentially includes camera footage of the accident, police reports, and the driver’s phone records.