The Department of Transportation has taken many steps to limit the distractions commercial drivers face while behind the wheel in an effort to increase the safety of the nation's roadways. As such, drivers of these vehicles, which would include 18-wheelers, are banned from both texting and using hand-held cell phones while driving.
If a commercial truck driver is found to be texting or otherwise using a hand-held cell phone in violation of these regulations, new penalties will apply. Each offense could result in a $2,750 fine and drivers found in violation of the regulation multiple times could even lose their commercial driver's license. If a trucking company is found to require or allow its drivers to use hand-held cell phones while driving, the company faces a penalty of up to $11,000.
Legislation is not the only factor motivating commercial truck drivers to abstain from cell phone use. In addition, The Commercial Vehicle Training Association takes part in the "One Text or Call Could Wreck it All" campaign for distracted driving awareness sponsored by the Department of Transportation. The organization trains commercial drivers and is encouraging them put their cell phones away in an effort to further curb the risk of 18-wheeler and big rig accidents.
Recourse Available if Injured Due to a Commercial Trucker's Distracted Driving
If a commercial truck driver uses a hand-held cell phone or texts while driving and causes an accident, compensation may be available to cover medical expenses and lost wages, as well as pain and suffering and physical impairment. The injured party may be able to hold both the driver and the trucking company liable for the prohibited use of a cell phone while driving.
If the company does not include restrictions to phone use in its policy, it may also be found in violation of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration law and liable for any injuries caused by its drivers.
Determining liability and seeking compensation in a personal injury claim can be difficult. As a result, it is wise to seek the counsel of an experienced 18-wheeler accident attorney to ensure all legal rights and remedies are protected.
Written by the Office of Jackson Reed