Banning Cell Phone Use by Truck Drivers Can Reduce the Risk of Fatal Tractor-Trailer Accidents in Statesville, Elsewhere

Motorists often get concerned when they are driving down the highway and see a tractor-trailer swaying in their lane. Many times a trucking accident in Statesville, Greensboro or elsewhere occurs because a driver has worked over the allotted hours of service and becomes drowsy, cargo is too heavy and the load shifts causing an imbalance in weight distribution, or a driver is texting or talking on the cell phone while they drive.

Many of these issues have been addressed or regulated by the government in the past year but the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is adding one more recommendation to the list, a total ban on cell phone use by truck drivers. The NTSB previously suggested that cell phone use be prohibited for novice drivers and bus drivers. Most states have since then adopted laws banning either group from the unsafe behavior.
Asheville car accident attorneys know that distractions are dangerous for anyone operating a vehicle but especially for truck drivers operating a tractor-trailer which is difficult to control because of its size. Eliminating the use of handheld or hands-free devices by all truck drivers or operators in possession of a commercial driver’s license would certainly make other motorists safer on North Carolina roadways and interstates.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration banned truckers from texting last year. A trucker caught sending or receiving texts behind the wheel can face a potential fine of $2,750 and possible loss of driving privileges.

The recent recommendation to ban cell phones from truck drivers by the NTSB follows a full blown investigation of a trucking accident near Munfordville, KY which killed 12 people in 2010. Bloomberg reports that NTSB investigators found that the distracted truck driver causing the crash was on his cell phone when he crossed the median, broke through cable barriers and hit an oncoming 15-passenger van carrying 12 people attending a wedding. The van driver, nine passengers in the van and the truck driver were all killed in the fatal tragedy.

NTSB officials investigating the accident found that the truck driver had used his cell phone 69 times for calls and text messages in the 24-hour period leading up to the accident. The driver had made 4 calls a few minutes before the accident and the last call corresponded with the same time the tractor-trailer veered across the center median.

The investigative report also indicated that road or weather conditions, the health of the truck driver and mechanical conditions of the large truck had no impact in causing the accident. It is unclear whether drowsiness contributed to the distraction and supplemented the cause of the accident.

The American Trucking Association and many of its 37,000 members already regulate cell phone use by their companies, according to a spokesman. Though they don’t necessarily feel that a hands-free ban is needed, they contend a texting ban and prohibition of handheld devices is in order to keep all motorists safe from a trucking accident caused by driver distraction.

The trucking accident lawyers at the Lee Law Offices, P.A. assist victims and their families involved in distracted driving accidents in North Carolina. For a free initial consult regarding your rights, call 1-800-887-1965.

Additional Resources:

NTSB Calls for Ban on Mobile-Phone Use by Commercial Drivers, by Jeff Plungis and Will Daley, Bloomberg.

More Blog Entries:

Truck Driver Shortage Leads to a High Risk of Trucking Accidents in North Carolina Due to Driver Fatigue, North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, September 8, 2011.

Heavier Truck Loads Could Raise Risk of North Carolina Trucking Accidents, North Carolina Car Accident Lawyers Blog, June 10, 2011.

Hours-of-Service Rules Reduce Risk of North Carolina Trucking Accidents, North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, February 17, 2011.

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