Distracted Driving Truck Accident Lawyer in Houston
It’s dangerous when anyone drives while distracted, but it’s especially dangerous when truck drivers do it. A commercial truck can weigh more than 20 or even 30 times as much as a typical passenger car, and they’re much bigger and longer as well. When a truck hits another vehicle, the harm caused to the passenger vehicle and its occupants can be significant and often catastrophic.
That means truck drivers should be especially careful not to get distracted when they’re behind the wheel. Unfortunately, truck drivers aren’t always as cautious as they should be, leading to severe accidents on the roads.
If you were injured in an accident caused by a distracted truck driver, call The Callahan Law Firm right away. Our Houston truck accident lawyers have more than 25 years of experience helping personal injury victims with their cases. We’ve helped our clients recover millions of dollars for their injuries. You won’t owe us any fees unless a financial recovery is made on your behalf.
Want to know more about our legal services and how we can help you? Get your free initial consultation by calling our Houston office or by visiting our contact page.
Types of Truck Driver Distractions in Houston
Three main categories of potential distractions pose hazards for all drivers, including truck drivers. They are:
- Manual distractions – Manual distractions are anything that takes a truck driver’s hands off the steering wheel. The driver’s hands could only be off the steering wheel for a moment and still cause them to lose control of the vehicle or leave them unprepared to react to a hazard in the road or an emergency. If the driver doesn’t have hands on the steering wheel, it will take longer to react which could easily lead to an accident.
- Visual distractions – A visual distraction is something that takes a truck driver’s eyes off the road and the surrounding area. If a truck driver isn’t actively watching the road, it can delay reaction to traffic and road conditions ahead and around the tractor and trailer. Truck drivers must constantly scan the areas in front and to the sides of their rigs so they can be aware of their surroundings at all times.
- Cognitive distractions – Cognitive distractions are anything that takes a truck driver’s attention or mental focus away from driving and their surroundings. Cognitive distractions can be the most dangerous types of distractions because of the concentration needed to handle these large vehicles safely. If a truck driver isn’t fully engaged with keeping themselves and others on the road safe, it’s all too easy for an accident to happen.
Here a few of the most common distractions that lead to accidents among truck drivers:
- Texting while driving – Texting while driving is extremely dangerous because it takes a driver’s hands off the wheel, their eyes off the road, and their focus off of driving. It’s no wonder that texting while driving is the cause of so many distracted driving accidents.
- Talking on a handheld phone – A truck driver may be able to look at the road while they’re on the phone, but their focus is elsewhere, and typically at least one hand will not be on the steering wheel. Talking on a handheld phone while driving is another major cause of distracted driving accidents.
- Eating or drinking – Eating or drinking is generally a manual distraction, though a truck driver may also look down from the road for a moment at the food or drink or the mess caused, which would qualify as a visual distraction.
- Billboards and signs – Because they’re designed to be eye-catching, billboards and business signs can be dangerous if they take a truck driver’s eyes and concentration off the road at the wrong moment.
- Changing the music – Fiddling with the stereo requires at least one hand and also takes a truck driver’s focus away from driving.
- In-truck computer screens – Navigation systems and other displays are handy tools for helping truck drivers get where they need to be, but they can also become a distraction if they’re not used properly.
Distracted Driving Laws for Truckers in Texas
Because distracted driving is so dangerous for both truck drivers and other motorists, there are a number of laws in place to curb this behavior. Here are some of the relevant laws concerning distracted driving by truck drivers:
- The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) completely forbids all truck drivers from holding a phone while driving. Unless the truck is equipped with a hands-free system, no truck driver should ever be on the phone while they’re behind the wheel.
- The FMCSA also forbids truck drivers from texting while driving. This includes both sending texts as well as receiving them.
- In addition to federal regulations, Texas state law also forbids all drivers from using a handheld phone or sending and receiving texting messages while driving. There are exceptions to this rule for certain emergency situations and if the driver has a hands-free device.
How to Prove Distractions in a Houston Truck Accident Lawsuit
Unless someone directly witnessed a truck driver using their phone while driving or being distracted in some other way, it can be challenging to prove distracted driving in court. However, some types of evidence can be used to prove distracted driving. Examples include:
- Cellphone records, which can show that the driver was talking on the phone or texting at the time of the crash
- Electronic onboard recorder records, which can help show that the truck driver failed to slow down before a crash because they were distracted
- Inspection and photos of the accident scene, which may show whether the truck driver tried to avoid the crash through the presence of evidence such as skid marks as well as gouge marks indicating the point of impact
- Police reports, which may include a statement from the truck driver about what they were doing in the moments leading up to the crash as well as the identity and statements of witnesses
Contact a Houston Truck Accident Lawyer for Help
It can be a challenge to prove a truck accident was caused in whole or part by distracted driving, but it can be done with the help of an experienced truck crash lawyer. Our team at The Callahan Law Firm will discuss your case with you and answer any questions you may have.
Get a free case review today by calling our office in Houston or visiting our contact page.