Distracted Truck Driving Accident Lawyer Utah
Distracted driving endangers everyone’s life. But the danger increases exponentially when a truck driver fails to pay attention behind the wheel. It’s also against the law. After an injury, you deserve someone who will demand justice and stand up for you. At Swenson & Shelley, we dedicate ourselves to providing comprehensive and compassionate legal support to our clients. You’re more than just a case to us. You’re our priority. Call or contact us today for a consultation with a Utah truck accident attorney.
What is Distracted Driving?
A distracted driver is a motorist who cannot safely operate their vehicle because their attention is focused on something else. Driving is a complex activity requiring a driver’s complete attention. Distraction considerably increases the risk of crashes.
Safety experts separate driver distractions into three main categories:
- Manual distractions – A manual distraction is any activity that prompts a driver to take their hands off the steering wheel while driving. Commercial truck drivers have less control over their rigs without both hands on the wheel and are less capable of reacting swiftly in emergencies.
- Visual distractions – A visual distraction is anything that takes a driver’s eyes off the road. When drivers look away to read a text message, adjust vehicle controls, or reach for an item, they can cause a catastrophic accident.
- Cognitive distractions – A cognitive distraction is anything that diverts a motorist’s mind off the task of safe driving. Daydreaming, rubbernecking, cell phone use, and talking to others are cognitive distractions that can lead to tractor-trailer crashes.
Texting is widely considered the most dangerous form of distracted driving because it combines all three types of distraction. Drivers who text behind the wheel must take their hands off the wheel, their eyes off the road, and their minds away from driving while processing the incoming message and formulating a response. Texting while driving is illegal for truck drivers.
Distracted Driving is a Major Factor in Truck Accidents
Driving while distracted is especially problematic for truck drivers, whose vehicles are large and heavy enough to do severe damage in a collision. Data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) illustrates just how deadly driver distraction is when it comes to truck accidents:
- One data collection project revealed that roughly 11,000 U.S. truck accidents over a three-year period resulted from external driver distractions.
Another study suggested that truck driver inattention was a top contributing factor in truck crashes and near-crash events. Eight in 10 truck accidents involved some form of driver inattention in the three seconds before the event.
- Other reports found truck drivers engaged in activities besides driving the truck in 71 percent of truck accidents and that texting while driving increases a truck driver’s risk of a safety-critical event by 23 times.
- Reports based on real-world truck driver scenarios suggest reading maps while driving increases the odds of a safety-critical event by seven times, and using dispatch communication devices increases the odds by nine times.
- Studies of truck drivers who dial handheld phones behind the wheel suggest that such drivers are three times more likely to have accidents or near-crash events and are more likely to make frequent and significant steering corrections.
More Facts About Distracted Driving and Truck Accidents
Some of the most common types of distractions that can interfere with a truck driver’s attention include:
- Texting or talking on mobile devices – The average text message takes about five seconds to send or receive, enough time for a truck driver to travel the length of a football field while driving at just 55 miles per hour.
- Eating and drinking – A truck driver who consumes energy drinks, snacks, or meals as they drive does not have both hands on the wheel or their full attention on the road.
- Personal grooming – Truckers often spend considerable time behind the wheel. Hair combing, shaving, and applying makeup are hazardous behaviors that should be done before a shift starts.
- Checking GPS or dispatch data – Truck drivers must review route and dispatch data frequently to do their jobs, but doing so without pulling over to a safe location can lead to tragedy.
- Watching videos or reading content – Long, isolating hours behind the wheel sometimes lead truck drivers to engage in risky behaviors like watching videos or scrolling through social media.
Texting While Driving and Cell Phone Laws in Utah
The Utah Commercial Driver License Handbook describes the texting and cell phone restrictions that apply to CMV drivers who operate within the state:
- State law prohibits truck drivers from holding mobile devices to make calls or pressing more than one button on a mobile device to initiate a call while driving.
- State law also prohibits truck drivers from sending or reading texts while driving.
- Federal law prohibits CMV drivers nationwide from using handheld mobile devices, using at least one hand to hold the device, pressing more than one button to make a call, or moving from a seated position to reach for the device while driving.
- Federal laws also impose harsh penalties on CMV drivers convicted of texting or using handheld mobile devices while driving. Two or more convictions within three years can result in a 60-day disqualification, and three or more offenses can result in a 120-day disqualification. Each violation can also result in $2,750 in fines for drivers and an $11,000 penalty for trucking companies that encourage or require their drivers to use mobile phones.
Call an Experienced Utah Truck Accident Lawyer
Coping with severe injuries after a semi-truck accident is something you shouldn’t have to do alone. An experienced truck accident lawyer from Swenson & Shelley can relieve your burdens and pursue maximum compensation for you while you recover. Call or fill out our online contact for a free case review.