Distracted driving a problem for North Carolina truck drivers

With Charlotte located just about in the center, Mecklenburg County is busy with commuters every day heading into work. In addition to the lines of vehicles, large tractor-trailers are also heading to and from the large city and if truck drivers are not paying attention to the road around them, they could cause a truck accident, leaving a trail of debris and destruction in their wake.

According to the North Carolina Department of Transportation, there were over 5,000 accidents in 2009 that involved tractor-trailers. Out of that number, 1,390 of those crashes involved injuries and 77 were fatal. Mecklenburg County was the scene of 739 collisions. The causes of those accidents were unknown, but it is quite possible that several could have been related to distracted truck drivers.

Distracted driving and truckers

Earlier this year in California two people were killed and three people were injured when a semi-truck driver lost consciousness after choking on food according to KCRA. The people killed were traveling on the opposite side of a highway when the semi hit them. Before the fatal impact, the tractor-trailer hit two passenger vehicles and then went through the center divider.

When people hear the term, "distracted driving" it is common for them to think immediately of passenger vehicles but truck drivers are also engaging in this dangerous behavior. A 2009 report from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration focused on driver distractions and commercial truckers. The report was based on a study conducted to investigate whether this is a problem for commercial drivers as it is for regular motorists and it was determined that more was needed to eliminate distracted driving behavior with commercial drivers.

Common sources of distraction for truckers

The FMCSA encourages truckers to be aware of any behavior that requires them to take their eyes, hands or mind off of the task of driving. The following behaviors are common sources of distraction for commercial drivers:

  • Smoking
  • Reading maps
  • External objects; billboards, buildings
  • Paperwork
  • Cell phones
  • Eating/drinking

Recognizing the dangers associated with texting and driving, the FMSCA has banned commercial drivers from this behavior. The only exception to the rule is if drivers of commercial vehicles, including tractor-trailers, are communicating with emergency responders.

Legal resources for victims of distracted truckers

When a person is injured in an accident caused by a trucker who is distracted, they can ask for compensation. This compensation can provide financial help to the person, who may be facing large medical expenses, loss of income and may even need further medical treatment. However, going after a trucking company or truck driver is not always easy because many already have attorneys ready to defend them.

If you are trying to obtain compensation from a trucker or trucking company you should obtain legal representation from a qualified attorney in your area.