Trucking Industry Rules Regarding Texting and Driving Hours
Due to fatigue, distraction and other causes, truck crashes kill and seriously injure tens of thousands of people across the country each year.
In a state like Texas, it's often said that bigger is better. However, this is not true when it comes to large trucks and accidents. Drivers often encounter big rigs on the road throughout the state, which can present a great danger under many different circumstances.
Truck accidents are a problem throughout the country as well as in Texas. According to Insurance News Net, about 100,000 people are injured in the U.S. each year in truck collisions, and more than 4,000 are killed. This represents a significant increase in truck accident rates since 2009.
Trucking accidents caused by numerous common factors
It's impossible to predict a crash, but several factors occur frequently with trucks that can create a hazard, says State Farm. These may include:
- Alcohol or substance use
- Improper load distribution
- Brake or vehicle failure
- Speeding or reckless driving
- Road, weather or traffic conditions
Additionally, distracted driving and driver fatigue are major causes of truck accidents, the same as with smaller vehicles.
To address these problems, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has enacted rules regarding work hours and texting while driving. A new rule that went into effect in July 2013 prohibits an average work week of more than 70 hours, a decrease from the previous 82 hours. Truck drivers must rest for a consecutive 34 hours after the 70-hour maximum, before being allowed to get back on the road.
When it comes to cellphones and other hand-held devices, using one while driving can cost a trucker up to $2,750 in fines and, after multiple violations, possibly his or her trucking license. Texting while driving a commercial truck is prohibited, and the only permitted way to talk on a phone is if it's hands-free.
Big rig accident snarls traffic on I-35 for hours
A recent crash in San Antonio highlighted just how suddenly and unexpectedly a truck accident can occur. According to the San Antonio Express-News, an 18-wheeler overturned on the interchange between Interstate 35 and Interstate 10, which took workers more than 12 hours to clear. Fortunately, it appeared that nobody was hurt in the crash, although an allegedly intoxicated woman ignored warning cones and police lights and crashed into a police car near the lane closure. A truck crash like this could have easily resulted in serious injuries for the occupants of nearby vehicles.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported 568 deaths in Texas in 2012 involving large truck accidents. If you've been injured in a truck crash, you may be entitled to the compensation of your medical expenses. Contact an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss your options.