Most people on the road are amateurs, driving their own personal, passenger vehicle to get to work or take their children to school. However, there are also professionals out on the road who drive as part of their daily workout obligations. While you might expect that those professional drivers are much more cautious and safe than people in passenger vehicles, that isn’t always the case.
Commercial drivers are human too, and they are vulnerable to the same mistakes and risks as anyone else driving. Although they are subject to stricter licensing requirements and more severe laws than passenger vehicle drivers, commercial drivers can and do make mistakes that cause crashes on roads all over the country every day.
Impairment, including alcohol intoxication or the use of illegal drugs, can be an issue for some commercial drivers, as can sleep deprivation. Distraction, particularly distraction caused by mobile devices, is a particularly concerning risk for commercial truck drivers, who are often lonely and bored while working.
Commercial trucks are big and need more time and space to maneuver
Even in the best of circumstances, it can take a commercial truck many feet before it successfully comes to a stop. Vehicles stopped in front of it could wind up severely damaged because of the momentum that the truck has.
Commercial truck drivers should maintain adequate space between their vehicle and the vehicles in front of them while also making every effort to brake as soon as they believe they need to slow down. Constant vigilance is truly necessary for the safety of the public.
If a driver looks down at their mobile phone to read a message, write a message or scroll through social media, they may not respond in time to changes in traffic, leading to an otherwise avoidable crash that could have fatal consequences for the occupants of the vehicle they crash into.
Federal law prohibits mobile phone use while driving a commercial vehicle
Every state has a different rule in place regarding distraction and mobile technology while in control of a motor vehicle. That could make things confusing for commercial truck drivers, but thankfully, they are subject to a universal, Federal rule that supersedes state law. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has a no texting rule that applies to all commercial drivers whenever they are in command of a large commercial truck.
Commercial drivers cannot legally make any kind of manual entry into their mobile phones, whether they want to text a message or dial a number. Hands-free options are legal alternatives, but any manual use is part of the prohibition.
If you suspect texting or mobile phone distraction as the cause of a crash with a commercial truck, be certain to say something to the responding police officers about that suspicion to ensure they adequately investigate.