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Truck drivers still use cellphones while driving despite federal ban

| Sep 30, 2014 | Motor Vehicle Accident

Large commercial vehicles, while a necessity for the success of industry, can be potent, deadly weapons when not properly handled. For this reason, federal laws are currently in place banning the use of electronic devices by truckers and other commercial vehicle drivers while they are on the road. Despite the ban and the clear danger presented to other motorists and pedestrians, many truckers continue to use cell phones to make calls, send messages and visit websites while driving.

The consequences of distracted driving

According to the Huffington Post, a truck driver traveling in Arizona recently killed a police officer because he was viewing porn on his cell phone while he drove. Due to his inattention, a stopped patrol car took the full force of the impact from the truck, which was traveling at 65 miles per hour, killing the officer that was seated inside.

Another recent incident occurred in New Jersey, where a tractor-trailer driver failed to slow down while on the New Jersey Turnpike. According to police, the trucker was either texting or talking on his cell phone when he slammed into the rear of a car that was in stopped traffic, causing a chain reaction that involved five other cars and killed one of the occupants of the affected vehicles. reports that others suffered serious injury as well, among them a woman and her 2-year-old child.

About the federal ban

In 2010, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration prohibited truckers and other commercial vehicle drivers from texting while driving. Later, in 2011, the ban was extended to include all hand-held cell phone use regardless of intent. According to the law, if an officer finds truckers using cell phones, the drivers are likely to face civil penalties up to $2,750 and their motor carriers may also be forced to pay fines of up to $11,000 per incident. Drivers who have multiple offenses may lose their commercial vehicle license.

Prevalence of illegal use of cell phones

Despite the federal ban, the potential fines, and the possibility of killing or seriously injuring others in truck accidents, truckers still decide to use their cell phones at alarming rates. The FMCSA sites a recent study in which researchers showed that the odds of being involved in a potentially dangerous crash or near-crash are 23.2 times greater for texting truckers than those who refrain from the activity.

Those who have been injured in an accident with a commercial vehicle can successfully seek compensation with the help of a Chicago attorney. They can help injured victims receive what they need in order to heal and move on with their lives.