Truck drivers often must cover long distances and spend many hours on the road. Over the course of a trip, they can become easily distracted by things both inside and outside of their cab. However, by giving in to any distraction, the driver puts everyone on or near the road at risk. It’s unacceptable.
At Cain Law Office, we protect the rights of people who suffer injuries or the loss of a loved one in crashes caused by careless and reckless truck drivers, including those who drive while distracted. We know how to hold negligent truck drivers and trucking companies accountable and to pursue all compensation that our clients are due. Our founding attorney, Monty Cain, is a member of the Association of Plaintiff Interstate Trucking Lawyers of America with more than 20 years of experience with handling these cases.
If a truck driver recently hurt you or a loved one in a crash in Oklahoma, we can immediately investigate your case and determine whether distracted driving or some other form of negligence caused the wreck. Get started today. Call or reach us online for a timely and free consultation.
Why Is Distracted Truck Driving So Dangerous?
When any driver engages in distracted driving, it is dangerous. As the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office reports, during 2016 alone, distracted drivers in our state were involved in:
- 8,390 total crashes
- 3,152 injury crashes
- 34 fatal crashes
However, when the driver is behind the wheel of a massive tractor-trailer that may weigh 80,000 pounds or more, the risk of an accident which causes life-changing or fatal injuries becomes even greater when the driver is distracted. Safely operating a tractor-trailer is a complex task, and it requires the full focus and attention of the driver at all times.
Several years ago, the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) released a landmark study which specifically focused on truck drivers. The study found that a truck driver who texts while driving is 23 times more likely to get into a collision than a driver who does not text, while a driver who dialed with a cell phone was six times more likely to get into a crash.
Types of Distracted Driving by Truck Drivers
Texting while driving clearly is the most dangerous form of distracted driving. This is because it involves taking one’s eyes off the road, hands off the wheel and mind off the task of driving. That is why, in response to the VTTI study, the FMCSA established a rule that bans all interstate truck drivers from texting and driving. (Oklahoma has a similar ban for all drivers.)
Talking on a phone while driving can be dangerous as well. For this reason, the FMCSA also prohibits drivers from using mobile phones if it involves:
- Using at least one hand to hold the phone while driving
- Dialing on the phone by pressing more than one button
- Getting out of a seated position to reach for the phone.
Despite these rules, truck drivers who text or talk on their phones while driving continue to cause accidents. According to FMCSA truck crash statistics, six percent of fatal truck crashes in 2016 involved distracted truck drivers, and out of those crashes, 16 percent involved cell phone use.
However, phone use is not the only type of distraction which can lead to serious and fatal trucking accidents. Truck drivers can also cause crashes when they:
- Use a device to send or read e-mails, watch videos or surf the Internet
- Eat, drink or smoke
- Use a dispatch device
- Try to read a map or enter information on a GPS unit
- Interact with a passenger or a pet in the can
- Become distracted by objects outside of the truck.
Allowing any of those distractions to interfere with the safe operation of an 18-wheeler is negligent driving. If a distracted truck driver causes a crash that harms or kills another, that driver should be held responsible.
How Can You Determine Distracted Truck Driving?
Cain Law Office has extensive experience with handling tractor-trailer accident cases in Oklahoma. We know how to conduct a timely and thorough investigation of a trucking accident and determine why it happened. We also work with professionals in fields such as trucking safety and accident reconstruction who can help us to identify the cause of a crash. We can determine if distracted driving played a role in your truck accident by gathering and studying evidence such as:
- The driver’s cell phone records
- The driver’s social media and Internet activity
- Footage from a dashboard-mounted camera
- Evidence such as a phone, iPad, food, drinks or cigarettes in the cab
- Event data recorder (“black box”) information
- Brake marks and skid marks at the crash scene (or a lack of marks)
- Witness statements.
Our attorneys can use this evidence to establish your right to compensation and demand a full and fair settlement offer from any party responsible for the distracted driving crash. If the party challenges liability and/or damages, our highly skilled trial lawyers will be ready to fight for you in court.
Who Can Be Held Liable for a Distracted Driving Truck Crash?
If a trucker engaged in distracted driving, and the driver’s negligence caused a crash that hurt you or caused the loss of your loved one, Cain Law Office will work hard to hold that driver accountable. If the driver was texting or talking on a cell phone in violation of FMCSA regulations, then it may establish the driver’s negligence as a matter of or law, or negligence per se.
However, in many cases, the driver is not the only responsible party. Our goal will be to identify all potentially liable parties in order to maximize the amount of compensation available to cover your medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering and other harm that you have suffered.
For instance, the truck company may be liable based on the driver’s negligence or based on its own negligence in hiring a dangerous driver or failing to adequately train and supervise the driver. In some cases, a trucking company may openly allow drivers to talk on their phones, use dispatch devices and engage in other types of distracted driving. The company’s lack of a distracted driving policy, or its failure to enforce an existing policy, may serve as key evidence.
Our Oklahoma Truck Accident Attorneys Can Help You
Our respected Oklahoma truck accident attorneys at Cain Law Office have more than 20 years of experience with handling tractor-trailer accident cases. We can put that experience to work for you today, starting with a free consultation about your case. You will pay nothing unless we secure compensation for you. To learn more, call or reach us online today.