If you are like many Americans, you probably struggle to ignore your cellphone for the 30 minutes it takes to commute to work. Can you imagine not being able to respond to text messages or emails for an entire 8-hour shift? What if your shift could last as long as 13 hours?
That is the reality for commercial drivers in the United States. Truckers often work very long hours. While they are on the road, they have an obligation to follow certain rules. Among those rules is a total prohibition on the manual use of mobile phones.
Unfortunately, all those hours on the road can be very dull. A trucker can easily slip into boredom and experience road hypnosis or exhaustion as a result of the monotonous work involved in driving long distances on highways. Grabbing a cellphone may seem like a great way to break the monotony, but it is both dangerous and illegal for a commercial driver to do so.
Commercial truckers need to be paying attention at all times
Massive commercial trucks pose a huge risk to the other people on the road. They are so big that they take longer to stop. They make really wide and awkward turns, and they have huge blind spots. Truckers need to be paying close attention to their surroundings and their vehicles to ensure that they minimize the risk they pose to other people.
Sadly, the temptation to talk to loved ones or even to watch a funny video or post about something they saw on social media could be too strong. Commercial drivers are human like the rest of us, and they can give in to temptation and make mistakes. Unfortunately, because of the size of their vehicle, those mistakes can have a much more profound impact than the same mistakes made by someone else.
Federal rules say commercial drivers can't text
In order to promote driver safety, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has a "no texting" rule on the books. That rule doesn't just apply to reading or typing out text messages. While those activities are prohibited, so are manually dialing a phone, looking at a website, reading an email or any other manual use of a phone or smart device while driving.
Drivers who break the rules could wind up ticketed with a hefty citation. They can also lose eligibility for their status as a commercial driver. If a commercial driver crashed into your vehicle, you may wonder how such an accident occurred. Distraction, as well as exhaustion, could have easily played a role in the collision.
If you have any reason to think that the truck driver was on their phone at the time of the crash, you should sit down to speak with an attorney about that suspicion. They may be able to obtain phone records that can help you potentially bring a court case against the driver.