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Texting and digital distractions tempt commercial drivers

April 23, 2019

If you’re like most people, you likely don’t spend more than an hour on your commute to work each day. Even that short time behind the wheel can be enough to both increase your stress level and bore you. Most people endure their daily commute as something that is necessary for their living.

Think about how dull it can be when you find yourself stuck in traffic or following the same route you do every day. Then imagine that you will be stuck in your vehicle for eight, 10 or even 13 hours that day. There is no question that you would probably like something to entertain you if all you do all day is drive. You’d also get pretty lonely by yourself on the road all day.

Unfortunately, as tempting as distractions like texting loved ones or enjoying digital content may be, they are very dangerous, especially for those in control of large commercial trucks.

Federal rules prohibit texting by commercial drivers

Every state has its own rules regarding the use of electronic devices in a car. Commercial truckers often pass through several states in one day. They may not fully understand the different texting laws from state to state.

However, the federal rules in place for commercial drivers make it clear that it doesn’t matter what state the commercial driver is in. Texting or manually inputting information on a mobile device while driving a commercial vehicle violates the rules for commercial drivers.

The rule is quite specific. It prohibits reading or composing text messages, manually typing a phone number, emailing, navigating to a website, or anything else that requires the driver to press more than one button on their phone. Failing to comply can result in expensive tickets and even the loss of eligibility to continue driving commercially.

Distracted drivers can put other people in danger

Given how large and powerful commercial vehicles are compared to passenger vehicles, commercial drivers can become a little aggressive and overconfident on the road. They understand that they aren’t the ones who incur the most risk in the event of a crash.

That confidence and aggressive driving can extend to times when they are engaging in dangerous behaviors, such as texting or reading something online. A commercial truck who isn’t fully paying attention to the task at hand could fail to brake before striking a vehicle, miss a turn or otherwise contribute to an accident that causes catastrophic injuries for the people in the smaller vehicles.

When a truck driver breaks the law and causes substantial property damage and injury, the people who suffer may have the right to see compensation under Kentucky law.