Truck Drivers May Soon be Banned from Cell Phone Use

Sep 30, 2011 Posted by in Motor Vehicle Accidents and Safety

According to an article in the Florida Sun-Sentinel this month, Broward and Palm Beach Counties report careless driving, which includes talking and texting on a cell phone, is the leading cause of fatal accidents. While Florida does not have a law limiting or banning cell phone use for any drivers, the state may soon be forced into passing one for commercial vehicle drivers.

Based on findings related to the worst highway crash in Kentucky in two decades, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has recommended that federal agencies ban cell phone use for all truck drivers. Further, NTSB urges all states to “prohibit the use of both handheld and hands-free cellular telephones by all commercial drivers’ license holders while driving in commercial operations.”

The tragic truck accident under review by the NTSB occurred on March 26, 2010, when a tractor-trailer struck a passenger van carrying 11 passengers, killing the truck driver, nine adults and one infant. In its findings, the NTSB reported, “one fact was clear from the outset: the truck driver was on his cell phone.”

According to the NTSB review of the accident, the driver had placed and received 69 calls and text messages in the 24 hours leading up to the accident. “In the minutes before the 5:14 a.m. crash, the driver made three phone calls, the last one at 5:14.”
The NTSB officials concluded that the truck driver was fatigued at the time of the accident, and that he was distracted from the driving task by the use of his cell phone.

The findings led NTSB chair Deborah Hersman to state that distracted driving is becoming increasingly rampant, aggravating the dangers that are encountered on the roadways on a daily basis. Distracted driving is particularly fatal when the distracted driver is operating a vehicle weighing 40 tons and who is traveling at high speeds. Hersman also added that when it comes to preventing deaths on U.S. highways, there is still much room for improvement.

Last week, another tractor-trailer crash investigation concluded that the cause of the collision was “driver inattention/distraction by the possible use of a mobile communication device.” The findings referred to the July 11 accident when an Amtrak passenger train collided with a tractor-trailer in North Berwick, Maine. The driver of the truck died in the accident and at least 12 others were injured in the train/truck accident.

The National Safety Council (NSC) reports that distractions now join alcohol and speeding as leading factors in fatal and serious injury vehicle accidents. The group also found that every 26 seconds an accident occurs as the result of texting or cell phone use.

We agree with law enforcement officers in Florida who say that “a general lack of respect for driving is the real killer” on our highways. Until truck drivers are told to put down their cell phones while driving their big rigs on U.S. and Florida highways, other drivers and their passengers will be put in jeopardy.

Contact a Florida Tractor-Trailer Accident Attorney

If you have been seriously injured in a truck accident caused by a texting or careless driver, contact an aggressive truck accident attorney who has helped many injury victims recover from a serious automobile accident. I am attorney Philip DeBerard. Our Florida truck wreck lawyers have more than three decades of experience with vehicle accident claims, including those involving tractor-trailers or semi trucks. We represent truck accident victims in Port St. Lucie, Okeechobee, Stuart, Fort Pierce, Jupiter, Vero Beach and Palm Beach and throughout South Florida and the Treasure Coast.

Call 1-800-299-8878 to speak with a knowledgeable Florida car accident attorney or fill out our online contact form.

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