A recent accident killed four Texas softball players after a truck driver allegedly became distracted and failed to steer his vehicle appropriately.
In the fall of 2014, four college softball players from Texas were killed in a truck accident returning from a scrimmage at a nearby university, states the New York Daily News. Although the exact type of truck driver negligence that caused the accident is not known, it is believed that the driver was distracted by something in the vehicle's cabin preceding this fatal collision. Before the truck hit the softball team's bus, the driver kept going straight as the road curved right, hitting the bus and then colliding with several trees.
Distraction significantly increases accident risk
One form of distraction that often causes injurious and fatal truck accidents like this one is texting and driving. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, when commercial drivers text behind the wheel, they are 23.2 times more likely to be involved in a crash, near-crash or another type of safety-critical event than if they had chosen not to text.
Commercial drivers who dial on a mobile phone while operating a truck can also endanger the lives of others on the road with them. The FMCSA states that when truck drivers dial on a mobile phone, they are six times more likely to encounter a safety-critical event than if they had refrained from using a mobile device.
Cellphone restrictions for commercial drivers
To reduce the number of collisions that are caused by distraction, the FMCSA has enacted several rules related to cellphone use. For example, commercial drivers are not allowed to text while they are driving. This means that they are prohibited from reading text messages on a cellphone or on an electronic device, and from manually entering letters or numbers into a cellphone as they drive.
Additionally, truck drivers are not allowed to use a handheld device to conduct a conversation or dial more than a single button on a cellphone while their vehicle is in motion. However, commercial drivers are permitted to use hands-free mobile phones as long as the device is within close proximity to where they are sitting.
Truck drivers who text or use a handheld device behind the wheel may have to pay a fine of up to $2,750. If they commit this offense multiple times, they may be disqualified from their duties.
Truck accidents still occur
Despite these restrictions and penalties, truck drivers often threaten the lives of other drivers, passengers and pedestrians in Texas when they use a cellphone or become distracted in any other way. If you were injured in a truck accident, consult with an attorney to determine what you can do to assert your legal rights.