Is distraction becoming a problem for truckers in South Carolina?

The holidays are in full motion and the roads of Lexington County are filled with travelers and shoppers. Among the thousands of passenger vehicles are large semis and this means that the chance of a tractor-trailer wreck occurring and involving other vehicles is higher.

When an accident happens, law enforcement conducts an investigation to determine the cause or factors that contributed to the accident. Sometimes truckers and trucking companies are found responsible for the collision. Lately, distraction has been named a factor in several recent accidents involving tractor-trailers.

Distracted truckers

Recently, a truck driver in Arizona was charged with second-degree murder and other offenses after causing a serious car wreck, according to The Huffington Post. The trucker was traveling at about 65 miles per hour and looking at Facebook and websites on his cell phone when the accident occurred. He struck a total of five first response vehicles at full speed, killing a police officer.

Another trucker was found responsible for a multiple-vehicle accident in Maryland. According to The Washington Post, the driver was crossing a bay bridge when he was distracted by lights and sounds going on behind him. As a result, he hit two vehicles, pushing one of them over the edge and into the water below. The driver of the vehicle in the water was able to get out of the car but she and the two passengers of the other one were injured.

Distraction a risk for commercial drivers

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration conducted a large study on commercial driver distraction and released the data in that study in a 2009 report. The researchers took several studies and examined the data collected in them to gain a wider understanding of distraction among commercial drivers. The researchers made several recommendations which included:

  • Designers should make changes in panel instruments to reduce the amount of time that drivers take their eyes off of the road in front of them.
  • Drivers should not text and drive.
  • Policies should be established that discourage distractive behavior by drivers.
  • Fleet managers should seek to educate their drivers on the risks associated with distractive driving.
  • Drivers should not use maps while driving.
  • Drivers should not dial on their phones while driving.

Recognizing that texting was a high-risk distraction, the FMCSA banned texting and driving the following year and then in 2011, banned the use of hand-held cell phones. Furthermore, the FMCSA has made it a point to educate drivers on behaviors that are distracting such as eating, fixating on exterior objects, playing with knobs on the dash and smoking.

When a person is injured in a truck accident, those injuries can be quite serious and even result in permanent disability. It is important for that person, or the person's family, to consult with an experienced attorney on how to seek appropriate compensation.