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San Jose truck crash lawyerAny 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.

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Santa Clara County personal injury attorney car accident

In 2018, an estimated 400,000 people in the United States were injured and almost 3,000 were killed in car accidents involving distracted driving, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Distracted driving is a serious problem nationwide and in California, and if you have been injured in an accident caused by a distracted driver, you need an attorney who understands the legal strategies that give you the best chance of obtaining the compensation you need and deserve.

Common Causes of Distracted Driving

Distracted driving refers to any situation in which a driver removes his or her attention from driving to focus on another task. One well-known cause of distracted driving is cell phone use, especially texting, which can remove a driver’s eyes from the road for five seconds or more. In California, texting while driving and any other handheld cell phone use is against the law. Other common distractions are not explicitly forbidden, but they can be dangerous, nonetheless. Some of the most frequent causes include:

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Distracted driving impacts the risk of auto accidents regardless of the age of the driver, but a study has indicated that teenage drivers may be dismissing the risks associated with multitasking while driving. Though the study suggested that teenagers recognize that texting and driving or driving while under the influence of alcohol could cause an accident, many did not observe the same potential for danger in other behaviors.

According to one report, any behavior that causes a driver to look away from the road could be considered a form of distracted driving, including talking on a cellphone, eating, changing radio stations or actively using a GPS system. The findings of the research stated that 27 percent of the adolescents admitted to changing clothes while driving. Some claimed to have applied make-up or tended to a homework assignment. A lack of available resources for educating youths on what constitutes distracted driving could be one of the contributing factors to this trend.

Survey results indicated that the awareness campaigns regarding the risks of texting and driving have influenced adolescent drivers, suggesting a lower number of occurrences than previous studies. Implementing educational material about multitasking behind the wheel in driver education programs for teenagers might be instrumental in bringing awareness to other types of distracted driving. In an effort to demonstrate how distractions can affect basic tasks, the survey participants were asked to take a course that provided opportunities to observe how multitasking affects driving.

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Whether you live here in California or another state, it seems like every time you read the news you see a new case of distracted driving that either resulted in injury or death. In more cases than not, the driver responsible for causing the collision was using some type of portable electronic device. But even though everyone knows the dangers associated with driving and using a PED, nearly 70 percent of drivers admit to talking on cellphones while driving. Another 25 percent admit to texting and driving.

While this is a disconcerting thought to our San Jose readers it is also a concern for the National Transportation Safety Board. The agency believes that a cultural change is needed in order to better prevent distracted driving accidents across the United States. Much like the movement to stop drunk driving, the agency feels that tougher regulations are needed, which will get the message across to the public that this type of reckless driving is not tolerated.

As our readers have no doubt noted in the last few years, automakers have made it easier to use PEDs while driving by offering integrated systems in many vehicle models. From hands-free calling to in-dash media displays, automakers are putting more distractions in front of drivers, which could lead to accidents in the future. But instead of putting emphasis on convenience and accessibility, the NTSB says that the U.S. should put more emphasis on safety with PED-free transportation.

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Tagged in: texting and driving

One of the main criticisms of the texting and driving laws being passed nationwide is that they can be hard to enforce. Not only is it difficult for law enforcement officers to detect and prove a driver's texting, but GPS methods of tracking cellphone use can't discern whether the phone user is a driver or passenger.

But a West Coast physicist may have found a solution. If proven effective, it could allow police and prosecutors to enforce texting bans and prove a driver was distracted in the event of a car accident caused by texting.

While thinking about ways to address the risk of his own daughters texting behind the wheel, the physicist wondered if the pattern of the texting would appear distracted if done by a driver. Tests showed he was right: The pattern of pushing buttons on a phone by someone who's driving is distinctly more chaotic than someone who's not distracted.

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