Car and truck accidents are the leading cause of death among people age 5-34 in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Unfortunately, as shown by data from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, fatal crashes involving large commercial trucks like semis and logging trucks are on the rise, spiking by nearly 9 percent in 2010 alone Many of these tragic accidents are the result of distracted driving and other dangerous behaviors that have become increasingly common in recent years.
80,000 Pounds of Potential Disaster
Distracted driving involves any activity that takes a driver’s focus off the road, such as eating, changing the radio station or looking at a map while driving. Recently, cellphones and text messaging have become a particularly dangerous and widespread source of driver distraction. While distracted driving is risky for anyone, the risk of catastrophic damage is especially high when the distracted individual is a commercial truck driver, whose vehicle may weigh up to 18 times more than the average passenger car.
Compared to other forms of distracted driving, texting or using a cellphone is especially dangerous because it occupies a driver’s eyes, hands and concentration simultaneously. According to a study by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, sending or receiving a text message distracts a driver’s eyes from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds. For a commercial truck driver traveling at 55 miles per hour, this is the equivalent of driving a 40-ton vehicle the length of a football field – blindfolded.
Laws Target Distracted Driving
In Georgia, text messaging is banned for all drivers, but it is not against state law for adult drivers to talk on a cellphone behind the wheel. Fortunately, a federal law that went into effect in January 2012 bans hand-held cellphone use for interstate commercial truck drivers, including those traveling through Georgia. However, despite the ban, some truck drivers continue to put the lives of others at risk by using cellphones behind the wheel.
Distracted truck drivers in Georgia can be held liable when they cause accidents that lead to death or injuries. To learn about the possibility of pursuing compensation for injuries sustained in commercial truck accident in Georgia, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer.