Monday, March 16, 2015

Distracted Driving and Semi-Trucks Are a Dangerous Combination

Modern semi-trucks can weigh as much as 80,000 and travel at speeds of 70 miles per hour or more. As a result, when they are involved in accidents with other vehicles the damage can be tremendous. In addition, semi-truck accidents have the potential to cause serious bodily injuries that can be life-threatening. In some cases, victims may develop medical disabilities that could prevent them from returning to work or even being able to live independently.

The truck drivers who operate these massive and dangerous vehicles owe the public a duty to drive in a way that does not create an unreasonable risk of an accident. Unfortunately, they do not always live up to this duty, sometimes resulting in devastating accidents. When truck drivers negligently cause accidents, victims can often recover for their medical expenses and other losses by filing a legal claim against the driver or his or her employer. Anyone who has been injured in a truck accident in Florida should contact The Dolman Law Group as soon as possible to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys.

Distracted driving is negligent driving

According to the official United States government website1 for distracted driving, it is estimated that more than 400,000 people were injured in accidents involving distracted driving. Driving while distracted by something else would be deemed negligent by a court in almost every conceivable situation. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention2 (CDC) groups driver distractions into three main types, which are detailed below.

  • Cognitive distractions – Any distraction that diverts a driver’s attention away from the task of driving is considered a cognitive distraction.
  • Visual distractions – Things that take a driver’s eyes off of the road ahead constitutes a visual distraction.
  • Manual distractions – Any activity that requires a driver to take his or her hands off of the wheel is a manual distraction.
There are some distractions that combine two or all three types of these distractions, making them particularly risky. For example, text messaging on a smart phone or other electronic device requires that a driver think about the text he or she is composing, write the text using his or her hands, and look at the device while writing the message. A driver can travel the length of a football field or farther in the time that it takes to write a text message. As a result, texting while driving can significantly increase a person’s risk of being involved in an accident.

As a result of the particular danger that smart phone use can pose to other drivers, commercial truck drivers have been prohibited from using hand-held cell phones while driving by federal regulations since 2011. While smart phones are a highly-publicized and well-documented source of driver distraction, there are many other and less high-tech distractions that affect drivers on a daily basis. Some of the most common include the following:

  • Reading
  • Grooming
  • Looking at scenery
  • Talking
  • Eating
  • Searching for items in the car
  • Drinking
  • Using a GPS device
  • Adjusting the radio
  • Applying makeup
After a truck accident in which you suspect that distracted driving played a role, victims should be sure to record as much information about the incident as possible. If possible, take photographs of the scene of the accident and gather contact information from anyone who may have witnessed the accident. It is also very important for people involved in truck accidents to seek medical attention even if they do not believe that they are injured. Some injuries may not become symptomatic for hours or even weeks after an accident occurs, and seeing a medical professional will ensure that your injuries are properly diagnosed and treated.

Contact a Clearwater truck accident lawyer today to schedule a free consultation

People who have been injured in truck accidents may be entitled to significant compensation. To schedule a free consultation with one of our truck accident attorneys, call The Dolman Law Group today at (727) 451-6900.

Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33756
(727) 451-6900