According to Heavy Duty Trucking Info, distracted truck drivers are 72 percent more likely to be involved in a near-miss accident than any other drivers. In fact, truckers who use their cell phones while driving are twice as likely to be in a crash than those who do not.
While it is alarming for any type of driver to not be focused on the road, truckers have a higher chance of causing very dangerous, devastating, and even deadly accidents when they are distracted.
Is using a cell phone the only form of distracted driving?
No, it’s not. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines distracted driving as “doing another activity that takes the driver’s attention away from driving.” Therefore, anytime that a driver is behind the wheel and doing anything other than focusing on the task at hand, they are engaging in distracted driving. Distractions take away drivers’ focus and attention, which increases their chances of being involved in an accident. Here are a few examples of distracted driving:
- Texting while driving
- Talking on the phone while driving
- Surfing the web or checking social media while driving
- Changing the radio or air conditioning controls while driving
- Brushing hair or looking in the mirrors while driving
- Consuming food or beverages while driving
- Talking to a passenger while driving
- Adjusting a GPS system while driving
- Talking on an electronic dispatching device while driving
- Reaching or looking for an object in the vehicle while driving
Unfortunately, cell phones are one of the leading distractions for truck drivers. One of the reasons for this is because truck drivers spend most of their time on the road away from their families and homes. Therefore, their cellular devices are the only way they can keep in touch with their family, friends, and loved ones. However, truckers must remember that when they choose to pick up their cell phones while driving, they are not only putting their own lives at risk, but they are also putting many others nearby at risk as well.
The types of serious injuries that result from distracted truck drivers
When a person is involved in an accident with a distracted truck driver, the chances of the accident being fatal are very high. However, if you survive this type of collision, you will most likely suffer catastrophic injuries, which are sudden, severe, and permanent. Some of the most common injuries that we have seen from distracted truck driving accidents include:
- Head and skull injuries
- Brain injuries
- Neck injuries and whiplash
- Back and spinal cord injuries
- Broken, fractured, and crushed bones
- Loss of limbs or amputations
- Internal bleeding
- Internal organ damage
Does Huntsville, Alabama fine cell phone usage while driving?
Alabama has rules in place for all drivers, but truck drivers are also governed by federal rules and regulations. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration made it illegal for commercial vehicle drivers to text while driving, but does allow hands-free use for making phone calls. (Drivers are allowed to touch their phones once, presumably to hit “call” or “end.”)
As for passenger vehicles, Alabama Code 32-5A-350 states that drivers are not allowed to operate a vehicle in Alabama while using a cell phone to “write, send, or read any type of text-based communication.” The following are the fines for texting and driving:
- First violation: $25 fine
- Second violation: $50 fine
- Third or more violation: $75 fine
Alabama’s punishment for using a cell phone while driving appears to be one of the lowest in the country. As a matter of fact, it is currently not illegal for drivers to talk on the phone while behind the wheel in this state.
Can you file a claim if a distracted truck driver caused your accident?
Most of the time, distracted truck drivers who cause accidents are negligent. However, in order to successfully file a claim, you must have proof that their negligent behavior led to your accident. At Martin & Helms, our Huntsville truck accident lawyers use our experience, knowledge, and skills to assist our clients with this.
When we work together, we will listen to your story, look over the facts of your case, give our legal advice, and collect the appropriate evidence to prove negligence. The four factors that our attorneys must establish to show that the truck driver was negligent and should be held liable for your accident are:
- Duty of Care: The distracted truck driver had a duty of care, which was to keep you and others safe while driving on the road.
- Breach of Care: The distracted truck driver breached this duty of care by being on their cell phone or other device while driving.
- Causation: By breaching this duty, they caused your injuries.
- Damages: As a result, you suffered losses due to the distracted driver’s behavior.
Common losses from a Huntsville truck accident
You may be wondering what type of losses you can claim after an accident with a distracted truck driver. Our advice is to think carefully about all the ways that your accident and injuries negatively impacted your life. This can be in financial and non-financial ways, which are both equally important. Here are a few examples of losses our clients have claimed:
- Medical expenses
- Lost income
- Pain and suffering
- Home modifications
- Hired services
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of quality of life
- Emotional trauma
- Psychological counseling or therapy
If you were recently injured in an accident with a distracted truck driver, Martin & Helms will happily represent you. Our Huntsville truck accident lawyers are equipped with the training and necessary skills to fight for the compensation you deserve. We are also up to date and fully aware of the laws surrounding distracted driving and how to prove liability in these cases. Call our office or submit our contact form to schedule a free consultation today. We operate offices in Huntsville and Decatur, and serve Madison, Athens, and all of North Alabama.