The invention of the cell phone may have been the best and worst thing since the invention of the wheel. We can now be instantly connected with family and friends while speeding down the highway at breakneck speeds. Even better, we can text instead of talking.
No one is sure why everyone wants to tap out words instead of speaking, but they do, and this habit is increasingly causing accidents. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 3000 people died in texting-related accidents in 2020 on U.S. highways.
When a driver is responsible for a semi hauling a 30-foot trailer on the highway, texting while driving is especially hazardous. Anything that takes the driver’s attention off the road, whether it’s a cell phone or a burrito, becomes a potential cause of an accident. The risk is so high that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association (FMCSA) can suspend the license of a driver found using any handheld electronic device while driving.
Texting Uses Three Types of Distracted Driving
Distracted driving comes in three distinct categories.
- Manual distractions. These distractions are activities that take one or both hands off the wheel. Examples include eating, grooming, digging for something in the passenger seat, or changing the volume on the radio.
- Visual distractions. These distractions take your eyes off the road while you’re driving. Examples can include an accident you’re driving past, a passenger in the vehicle, a billboard that gets your attention or looking at GPS.
- Cognitive distractions. These distractions take your mind off the task of driving. Examples include rehearsing a proposal you’re going to make to your boss, planning your upcoming vacation, having an argument on the phone with your spouse, or daydreaming.
When you text behind the wheel, you’re engaging in all three types of distracted driving. You need at least one hand to type into your phone: manual distraction. You need to look at the keyboard so you’re typing the right letters: visual distraction. You must think about what you’re going to text and how to spell the words: cognitive distraction. All this is a recipe for a driver to ignore the road for the duration of their texting time.
The effect of this is the same as if the texting driver had been drinking. Studies by the NHTSA have shown that drivers who text resemble drivers with a .08% blood alcohol level. Driving a big rig while intoxicated is deadly, so driving one while texting can’t be good.
According to the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, it takes about five seconds to read a text. If you’re driving 55 miles per hour, you’ve driven the distance of the length of a football field without looking.
If you were involved in an accident with a truck in Texas and you suspect the driver may have been texting before the accident took place, contact a Texas truck accident lawyer from Gibson Hill Personal Injury immediately to discuss your case.
We can advise you on how to speak with the insurance companies and gather the documentation you will need to put together your case. If you were injured or incurred property damage, you may be entitled to compensation. Call us at 512-580-8334 or submit an online form to set up a a free and confidential consultation about your case.
Can You Tell If a Driver Was Texting?
Because texting while driving looks like drunk driving, it’s important to pay attention to what drivers were doing before and just after an accident. If you’ve been injured in a crash with a big rig, you should look for evidence of what the driver was doing just before they hit you. If they were weaving, swerving, braking, accelerating improperly, or driving onto the shoulder but were not found to be drunk or impaired after the accident, texting could be the cause.
When you speak to the driver after the accident, they may mention what was happening in the moments before the accident but be careful to not do the same! Anything you say could be used to try to pin blame on you in the future
Another way to find out would be to access their driver’s log. Since 2018, commercial drivers whose routes take them more than 100 miles from home base must keep an electronic log in the vehicle. This “black box” is like an airplane’s flight data recorder. Although it does not keep a record of whether the driver was using their cell phone, it can help track their actions before and during the accident.
How We Can Help
If you were injured in an accident with a commercial vehicle, you should contact a personal injury attorney right away. Big rig drivers are required to maintain a driver’s log, and you should be able to obtain a copy of it. If the company is not forthcoming with the records, you may need an attorney to help you get the records you need to file your claim. Remember that your time is limited. In Texas, you have only two years from the date of your injury to file a personal injury claim.
The attorneys of Gibson Hill Personal Injury are dedicated to protecting your rights when an unexpected accident turns your world upside down. We have helped hundreds of satisfied clients with cases just like yours.
Contact Us Now
Call the legal team of Gibson Hill Personal Injury at 512-580-8334 to get a free and confidential consultation about your case. Our attorneys are experienced, empathetic, and aggressively pursue your claim in order to get you the compensation you need to get your life back on track.