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Most dangerous distracted drivers of all: Truckers

Regular readers of our Houston legal blog know that we often focus in this space on the dangers to motorists of distracted driving. By now, everyone should understand how risky it is to the driver, passengers and everyone on the road to pay more attention to an electronic device than the traffic.

Understandably, the dangers rise dramatically when a distracted driver is behind the wheel of a tractor-trailer. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has put in place a number of regulations designed to keep truckers focused on their large vehicles rather than phones, infotainment systems, GPS and other electronic gadgets that often have prominent places in the cabs of today's commercial vehicles. The FMCSA's goal is to reduce the number of 18-wheeler crashes that cause injuries and deaths.

Truckers who are caught texting or using their cellphones while driving can be fined, disqualified and put out of service, a website devoted to trucking states. Note: the restrictions on electronics use don't apply to devices used by trucking companies and truck drivers for dispatching.

TruckingTruth.com says that researchers have shown that commercial vehicle drivers who text while behind the wheel are 23 times more likely to be in a crash than those who refrain. (Texting while driving is illegal in Texas.)

The Texas Department of Transportation says on its website that in 2016 there were more than 100,000 traffic crashes in the state that involved distracted driving. The end result: 455 fatalities and more than 3,000 serious injuries.

The FMCSA lays out a list of don'ts for truckers and their mobile devices:

  • Don't reach for the devices
  • Don't hold them
  • Don't dial
  • Don't text
  • Don't read and don't surf

If you or a loved one has been hurt in a crash with a distracted truck driver, contact an attorney experienced in pursuit of justice and full compensation.

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