Nationwide Cellphone Ban for Truck Drivers Recommended
The National Transportation Safety Board has recommended a ban on cellphone use, except in the case of emergencies, by the drivers of big rigs and other commercial drivers. Currently, three states and Washington, D.C. ban handheld cell phones for all drivers. The American Trucking Associations also supports the handheld device ban.
This recommendation comes in the wake of a 2010 truck crash that left 11 people dead after a tractor trailer crashed head-on with a passenger van on Interstate 65 near Munfordville, Kentucky. The trucker, from Jasper, Alabama, had just dialed his cellphone when his truck crossed into the wrong lane on the interstate and struck the van. Ten of the 12 passengers in the van were killed. Distraction caused by the trucker talking on his cellphone was believed to be the primary cause of the crash. The driver had made or received a total of 69 calls and texts the day leading up to the crash, including four calls in the minute prior to the wreck. It was unclear whether he was using a handheld or hands-free phone at the time of the accident.
Texting or talking while driving may cause drivers to become distracted and pay less attention to their driving, which can result in a serious accident when the driver is behind the wheel of a 40-ton truck big rig driving at highway speeds.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety warns that talking or texting on hand-held communication devices makes a driver four times more likely to become involved in a traffic accident that results in injury to the driver.
Additionally, a study from the University of Utah found that a driver's reaction time is delayed as much by using a cellphone as it is from having a blood alcohol concentration, or BAC, of .08 percent. This means drivers who use cellphones, regardless of whether the device is hands-free or handheld, are as dangerous on the road to other drivers and themselves as drivers who are legally intoxicated.
If you have been injured in a truck accident, speak to an attorney experienced in handling truck accident cases. You may be able to obtain compensation for medical bills and other costs caused by the truck driver's negligence.