Truck accidents are the most severe type of motor vehicle crash you can be involved in. The size, weight, and height of a truck all make a truck accident far worse than a collision with a normal car. Because they weigh more than ten times of a normal car, even when empty, whenever a truck gets involved in a collision with another vehicle, the wreckage and potential injuries are far worse than if it had just been another car. Additionally, because trucks are higher from the ground, their fenders often miss a car's fender, making the damage a truck can cause in a crash far worse, and much more likely to cause debilitating or fatal head or neck injuries.
With the potential for so much damage, you would think that truck drivers and their employers would take all of the care in the world to prevent a crash. Unfortunately, this is far from the case. Truckers and trucking companies are much more concerned with the profit that they stand to make by delivering a truck's cargo on time, and by striving for tighter and tighter deadlines that strain drivers and make them drive far past the point where they should take a break because they are struggling to pay attention to the road. This can lead to serious truck accidents because the truck driver was distracted.
Distracted Truckers Cause Accidents, Too
There are countless statistics that connect distracted driving to car accidents. However, when it comes to truck accidents, there have not been as many studies done. As a result, raw data for distracted truck drivers is not as complete as it is for car drivers. However, the numbers that are out there show that commercial vehicle drivers – which includes both truck and bus drivers – who are texting are 23.2 times more likely to cause a crash than those who are not texting. This is because a distraction like texting while driving takes a driver's eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds. When a truck travels at 55 miles per hour, that means that the trucker goes the length of a football field without looking at the road.
While distracted driving stats for truckers are lacking, that does not mean there is nothing to be gleaned from distracted driving stats for regular car drivers. Regardless of what they are driving, a distracted driver is a distracted driver. Even though a truck accident caused by a distracted driver will be more severe than a car crash caused by one, the number of accidents should be similar.
That number is disturbing. According to studies done by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Information Institute (III), distracted drivers accounted for ten percent of all fatal auto accidents in the United States in 2015, and fourteen percent of the total number of crashes that year. This amounted to 3,477 fatalities and another 391,000 personal injuries during 2015, alone. Some studies have even suggested that distracted driving is even getting worse in recent years. While the total number of road fatalities has increased drastically in the past couple of years, it is the rise in the number of deadly car accidents per mile driven that is more disturbing. It means that drivers are getting worse at driving, and distractions like cell phones are a huge component in this.
Maryland and Federal Regulations Prohibit Truckers from Texting and Driving
This is largely why the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued a regulation that prohibits all commercial drivers from texting while behind the wheel. Relying on the fact that studies had shown that texting had increased the odds of a crash by more than 23 times, the FMCSA's rule makes it a civil offense for a commercial driver to text while driving. Breaking the law can subject a driver to up to $2,750 and driver disqualification if there have been multiple offenses. Additionally, trucking companies can also be penalized under the regulation for letting their drivers text while driving and can face penalties of up to $11,000 for letting it happen.
The FMCSA's regulation is a huge step because it comes from the federal level. States have long known that texting while driving is dangerous to all of the other people on the road. That is why 30 states and the District of Columbia have passed laws prohibiting all drivers from texting while behind the wheel. However, the problem, while serious, was never considered to be serious enough for the federal government to step into the action. That the FMCSA's regulation singles out commercial truck drivers highlight how serious and widespread the issue really is.
In addition to these federal regulations, the state of Maryland has banned all drivers from operating hand-held cell phones while driving since October 2010.
Baltimore Truck Accident Attorneys at Gilman & Bedigian
Truck accidents are often far more severe than a car accident. The force of a truck far surpasses what a car can bring to a collision, even if the car was going well over the speed limit. This is especially significant if the truck had a full payload of cargo in its trailer when the accident happened. This increases the weight of the truck by tens of thousands of pounds, making it even more deadly in a wreck.
To be involved in such an accident is frustrating because of how much it can change your life or the life of someone you love. When the crash was caused by a truck driver who was not paying attention to the road, that can make everything even worse because of how little care they were taking to ensure your safety.
When this happens, you deserve to be compensated for your losses. After all, you were completely innocent so there is no reason why you should be the one to pay for the costs associated with the accident out of your own pocket. This is where the personal injury attorneys at the law office of Gilman & Bedigian can help. By being your legal representative and filing a lawsuit on your behalf, we can ensure you get the compensation you deserve to make the full recovery you need. Contact us online or call our law office at (800) 529-6162.