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Fatal truck accident in Texas highlights trucker distraction

According to, 387,000 people were injured in car accidents nationwide in 2011 that involved distracted drivers.
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    December 07, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Fatal truck accident in Texas highlights trucker distraction

It is not uncommon for people in Houston to see drivers who are engaged in other activities. According to, 387,000 people were injured in car accidents nationwide in 2011 that involved distracted drivers. Distraction is defined as any activity that causes a person to take their attention off of the task of driving. Grooming, eating, using a hand-held cellphone and adjusting the radio are some of the many forms of distraction that drivers engage in.

Distracted truckers cause crashes

At the beginning of the summer, a tractor-trailer in Texas drifted over into an ongoing lane of traffic after the driver reached down to pick up a candy bar. According to Channel 3000, the semi hit a couple on a motorcycle head on. The couple was killed and the driver could face serious criminal charges.

A recent truck accident in Maryland was also attributed to distraction. The Baltimore Sun stated that a trucker crossing a bay bridge was distracted by something outside the semi before he hit two cars. One of the vehicles was actually pushed off of the bridge into the water below but the driver managed to get out of the car. That driver and the two occupants of the other car suffered minor injuries.

The need for change

In 2009, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration released the findings of a study conducted to examine the effects of distractive behaviors on commercial drivers. The study consisted of taking two studies, previously done, and combining their data to look at the risk factor and the role that such behaviors play in near-critical and critical events.

The report made the following recommendations:
-Designers of instrument panels should make changes to decrease the amount of time a driver takes his or her eyes from the road.
-Better policies should be created that address distractions for drivers.
-Fleet safety managers should emphasize the risks of distraction to their drivers.
-The use of maps in any way by a driver, while the vehicle's engine is on, should be eliminated.
-Manual dialing of cellphones by drivers should be eliminated.
-Texting by drivers should be eliminated.

The FMCSA followed this report by banning texting in 2010 and then added to the ban in 2011 by telling commercial drivers that hand-held cellphones were also outlawed. The FMCSA has made it a point to encourage their drivers to avoid engaging in distractive behaviors by emphasizing the risks associated with those behaviors.

When a collision occurs between a car and a semi, it is generally the occupants of the car that are left facing monumental challenges such as severe injuries, permanent disability, loss of income and mounting financial debt. They should speak to an experienced attorney who can help them seek the compensation they need.

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