Commercial truck and bus drivers are restricted by federal rules from sending text messages or talking on handheld cell phones while driving. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA) imposed the rule to try to prevent distracted driving accidents involving large trucks. Truckers cannot hold a mobile phone to make a call or dial a phone by pressing more than a single button. Drivers may only use a hands free phone.

Cell Phones, Texting and Distracted Driving: Federal Regulations

FMSCA reports that recent research indicates that the chances of being involved in a crash are 23 times greater for drivers who are texting. The agency further reports that the average time a truck driver who is texting will take his or her eyes off the road is 4.6 seconds – enough time to drive the distance of a football field.

In September 2014, for example, a truck driver who said he was distracted crossed the median of Interstate 35 in Davis, Oklahoma, travelled 820 feet and collided with a bus carrying a Texas women’s softball team, killing four young women and injuring more than a dozen people. Investigators found no evidence that the driver tried to brake or swerve before the crash.

It’s clear that texting or manipulating a mobile phone is one of the most dangerous distractions for truck drivers. Considering that a fully loaded tractor trailer may weigh up to 80,000 lbs., any momentary distraction can cause a truck to get out of control. Drifting out of lanes or being slow to react to changing traffic conditions may mean death or severe injury to other motorists sharing the road.

Truck Driver Distractions

Researchers have studied truck driver distractions other than those associated with a cell phone to determine the degree of risk.

According to the FMCSA, distractions that pull the drivers eyes off the road for several critical seconds included:

  • Using a calculator (4.4 seconds)
  • Using a dispatching device (4.1 seconds)
  • Reading (4.3 seconds)
  • Writing (4.2 seconds)
  • Reading a map (3.9 seconds)
  • Reaching for an object (2.9 seconds).

The number of fatal truck accidents in Oklahoma has increased yearly from 2010 to 2014, according to statistics issued by the FMSCA.

In 2014, there were 3,152 non-fatal truck or bus crashes, and 123 fatal crashes. The accidents caused 127 deaths and 1,581 injuries. Most of the people who sustain injuries in truck accidents are occupants of other vehicles.

Injured in a Truck Accident in Oklahoma? Call Burch, George and Germany

At Burch, George & Germany, you will find a highly professional team of attorneys that have an excellent track record. There is much at stake for a victim of a truck accident. There may be the need for long term care, or the injuries sustained may be catastrophic, leaving a person with a life forever changed.

Our legal team is respected for ethical practice, and about two-thirds of our cases are referrals directly from other law firms that trust us to do the right thing for their clients. You can reach us directly, and get the professional counsel you need in a truck accident case. Call now.