Have you ever seen a truck driver texting while behind the wheel of a semi-truck? If so, your immediate reaction may have been, “Now that can’t be safe!” After all, drivers of passenger vehicles can’t legally text so why would it be legal for a truck driver to do it?
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the federal agency that governs the trucking industry, “FMCSA has published new rules that restrict texting and the use of hand-held mobile phones by truck and bus drivers while operating a commercial vehicle (CMV).”
The FMCSA continues, “Research commissioned by FMCSA shows the odds of being involved in a safety-critical event (e.g., crash, near-crash, unintentional lane deviation) are 23.2 times greater for CMV drivers who text while driving than for those who do not.” And if that’s not disturbing enough, the FMCSA explains how texting drivers take their eyes off the road for about 4.6 seconds, and at 55 mph, that’s equivalent to driving the length of a football field.
What Counts as Texting?
Texting includes reading or manually entering texts into an electronic device, but texting is not limited to cellphones as most people think. According to the FMCSA, texting includes:
- Short message services
- Instant messaging
- A command to access a web page
- A request to access a web page
- Pressing a single button to initiate or end a call
What Are the Penalties Involved?
For CMV drivers, texting while driving a commercial vehicle comes at a big cost. Violators face penalties up to $2,750, and employers who allow or require their drivers to use a hand-held device so they can text while driving face up to $11,000 in penalties. If a driver has multiple convictions for texting while driving, the FMCSA can disqualify them. Multiple violations of a statewide ban can result in a CDL driver license disqualification for 120 days.
Texting while driving for a truck driver can have fatal results. Commercial trucks can only use hands-free devices or else they are breaking the law, and potentially worse. The law against texting and driving for truck drivers is quite broad, but is made so because the repercussions can be so severe when they take their eyes off the road.
Injured in a truck accident because the truck driver was breaking the law and texting while driving? If so, contact our firm today to meet with a New Jersey lawyer. We are available 27/7 to take your call.