Last month, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood banned all truck drivers from texting while behind the wheel. While this is a step toward preventing serious semi-tractor trailer crashes, texting is not the only distraction for truckers.
Just like other drivers on the road, commercial truck drivers have a plethora of seemingly innocuous distractions that could tempt their attention away from the road. In addition to phones, there are other small personal data devices that drivers could be tinkering with. Navigation systems, which are handy if driving an unfamiliar route, still need to be programmed by hand and can still lure a driver’s eyes away from the task of driving. Aside from the gadgets, drivers could also be taking their hands off the wheel for a bite to eat or even to comb their hair in the rearview mirror. Anything that requires a driver’s attention, even for a couple seconds, can be a recipe for disaster when mixed with a truck weighing 80,000 pounds.
Laptops in the cabin are becoming more popular as well. Trucking companies defend their use because drivers can use them to track their route and communicate more efficiently. While this may be true, negligent use can lead to fatal truck accidents. Recently, a woman in Ohio was killed when a truck driver, who was distracted by his laptop, hit her. While this accident would have been tragic no matter what the trucker was doing with his laptop, the incident was made even more shocking when it was later revealed the truck driver was watching pornography at the time of the crash.
Not all truck drivers are so grossly negligent. It is, in fact, a small percentage of people who would risk other people’s lives because of some silly distraction. It is a danger to be aware of, however, and all drivers should be vigilant on the roads.
If you have been involved in an accident with a tractor trailer and would like professional legal counsel, contact a truck accident lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your case. Accident cases like these are very time sensitive and any delay could result in important evidence being lost.
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