Personal Injury Lawyers Fort Wayne | South Bend Indiana

Truck Accidents Caused by Distracted Truckers Can Be Devastating

Mature truck driver using mobile phone while driving commercial semi-truck.

Distracted drivers often cause accidents that result in severe injuries or fatalities. That's one reason why the NHTSA is trying to combat the issue by designating April as Distracted Driving Awareness Month. However, when it comes to distracted drivers, commercial truckers operating tractor-trailers, semis, delivery trucks, and other commercial big rigs cause some of the most devastating accidents on the road.

So, how common are distracted driving truck accidents? And what legal options are available for crash victims who were injured in a commercial truck wreck involving a distracted trucker? Our truck accident attorneys at Boughter Sinak, LLC explain what you need to know.

What causes trucker distraction?

Trucker distraction can originate from various sources, posing significant risks on the road. Some common causes include:

  • Cell phone use: Texting, talking, or using smartphone features while driving diverts a trucker's attention away from the road, increasing the risk of accidents.
  • In-cab distractions: Adjusting the radio, GPS navigation systems, or eating while driving can divert a truck driver's attention from the road, leading to delayed reactions and potential hazards.
  • Fatigue: Long hours on the road can result in driver fatigue, impaired judgment, and slow reaction times. Fatigued truckers may struggle to focus on the road, increasing the likelihood of collisions.
  • External distractions: External factors such as roadside attractions, billboards, or scenery can draw a truck driver's attention away from driving, posing risks of accidents or lane deviations.
  • Work-related stress: Pressure from their employer to meet deadlines or adhere to strict schedules can cause truck drivers to experience heightened stress levels, leading to distraction and impaired concentration on the road.
  • Personal issues: Personal concerns or emotional distress can distract truck drivers, affecting their ability to focus on driving safely and increasing the risk of collisions.
  • Lack of training: Inadequate training in managing distractions or maintaining focus while driving can leave truck drivers ill-prepared to handle potential distractions on the road, increasing accident risks.

How common are distracted driving truck accidents?

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), driver distraction is among the leading factors in commercial truck accidents nationwide. According to an FMCSA study, commercial truck drivers are six times more likely to be involved in an accident while using a cell phone. Moreover, truck drivers who are engaged in texting while driving are 23 times more likely to be involved in a collision, the FMCSA reports.

The large size and weight of commercial trucks make distracted driving accidents even more dangerous than those involving smaller passenger vehicles. A fully loaded tractor-trailer, for example, can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds. Compare that to most cars (which weigh about 4,000 pounds), and you have a recipe for disaster when a distracted truck driver slams into another vehicle.

Distracted driving accidents in Indiana

The Indiana Criminal Justice Institute reported that distracted driving causes more than 800 accidents each year in Indiana, including many collisions involving commercial trucks.

Recently, those figures have increased nearly every year, including 2022, when, according to state accident data reported by WISH-TV 8 News, 887 accidents in Indiana were caused by distracted drivers.

"People still drive around watching Netflix videos while they're driving," said Devon McDonald, executive director of the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute, per WISH-TV 8 News. "The big reasons why crashes occur, generally speaking, are speeding. (But) distracted driving is definitely a high, high incident rate with crashes."

Laws governing distracted driving in Indiana

Indiana has strict laws that punish drivers for driving while distracted. In particular, Indiana passed the "Hands-Free Law" in 2020, prohibiting drivers from operating a handheld mobile device while driving. Drivers who break the law are subject to a fine.

Is distracted driving against the law for truck drivers?

Federal regulations explicitly forbid commercial truck drivers from using handheld mobile phones while operating a commercial vehicle. These regulations, established by the FMCSA, aim to prevent distracted driving accidents involving trucks. The FMCSA also enforces rules prohibiting the use of specific electronic devices to mitigate distractions.

Moreover, the penalties for violating these regulations are notably severe for commercial truck drivers. Those caught using a handheld cell phone while driving could face fines of up to $2,750 and potentially risk losing their Commercial Driver's License (CDL).

How a truck accident lawyer can help prove negligence

The aftermath of a serious truck accident can be overwhelming, especially when facing the challenges of proving truck driver negligence. At Boughter Sinak, LLC, our truck accident lawyers understand the challenges involved. While the cause of the accident may seem apparent, navigating the legal process effectively often requires experienced legal representation.

Truck accidents often result in substantial financial burdens for victims. From medical expenses to lost wages, the financial toll can be significant. That's why our legal team is dedicated to fighting for the maximum compensation truck wreck victims deserve. With years of experience advocating for truck accident victims in Indiana, we know what it takes to build a strong case. Our attorneys are experienced in conducting thorough investigations, negotiating with insurance companies, and pursuing the best possible outcome for our clients.

Don't face the aftermath of a truck accident alone. Contact our law firm today to schedule your free consultation. With offices conveniently located in Fort Wayne and South Bend, we proudly serve clients throughout the state.

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