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Is distraction a big problem for truckers in California?

In 2009, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration released a report based on studies that focused on distraction and commercial drivers.
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    December 24, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Every day tractor-trailers travel through Santa Clara County heading to San Jose and the Bay Area. Without semis, merchandise, food and even medications would not be able to reach the people who need it. The drivers of these large mobile transports play an important role in the economy but also have a great responsibility. When they act in negligent ways, the ensuing result can be a fatal truck accident.

Distraction and truckers

One of those negligent ways is by engaging in distractive behaviors. In 2009, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration released a report based on studies that focused on distraction and commercial drivers. Data was gathered from these individual studies and then analyzed to put together a more complete picture of the issue. After looking at all of the information, the FMSCA presented the following recommendations:
- Policies should be developed to prevent the use of distractive devices in the vehicles by fleet safety managers.
- Drivers should not be allowed to take items, such as calculators, with them into the vehicles.
- Using, reading or looking at maps should not be allowed by drivers while the vehicle is in motion.
- Dispatching devices should be redesigned to reduce the amount of time a driver has to take his or her eyes off of the road.
- Commercial drivers need further education on the dangers of distractive driving.
- Texting should be prohibited by fleet managers.

The FMCSA took the step in 2010 to lower distracted driving among bus and truck drivers by placing a federal ban on texting and driving. In 2011, they added the use of hand-held cell phones to the ban.

Distracted truckers cause fatal accidents

Despite the federal ban, a man in Arizona was using his hand-held phone when he caused a fatal trucking accident in November. According to The Huffington Post, the man was looking at online sites and did not notice first responder vehicles ahead of him. He hit them while traveling 65 miles per hour, killing a police officer at the scene. A total of six vehicles were involved in the ensuing crash. To prevent the dash camera from recording him holding the phone, the trucker put his wallet in front of it.

Earlier this year, another distracted truck driver caused a fatal accident in California. KCRA reported that two people died and three were injured when a trucker driving on Interstate 80 choked on food and passed out. The semi veered across the lanes, hitting two cars before crossing over into the opposing lane of traffic and hitting a third vehicle head-on. The two people inside were killed instantly.

When truck drivers allow themselves to get distracted from the task of navigating their tractor-trailers, they put the lives of everyone around them at risk. Many people suffer catastrophic injuries from such collisions, leaving them permanently disabled and struggling financially. Such victims should talk to an experienced attorney about seeking appropriate compensation.

Article provided by Corsiglia McMahon & Allard, LLP
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