It’s bad when any driver becomes distracted behind the wheel. Driving distractions lead to a lot of car accidents, and many of them are both very severe and easily avoidable – such as a driver drifting over the centerlane and into oncoming traffic while looking at their phone.
But the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has long had specific rules for truck drivers to follow saying that they cannot use handheld devices. Even when talking, these devices are believed to be too dangerous. There are some situations in which drivers are allowed to push a single button in order to start a hands-free call, but they’re never allowed to text, use social media or hold the phone while making a call.
The importance of reaction times
Part of the reason for this rule is that it can help prevent drivers from making mistakes like drifting into the wrong lane. But much of the issue with distraction, for truck drivers, is just a reduction in their reaction times.
Remember that a semi-truck can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds. A driver who is trying to bring that truck to a halt may need more than 500 feet in order to do so. They could need twice as much distance as a normal passenger car.
This means that a driver who doesn’t notice traffic slowing down and reacts late may already be beyond the point where they can stop the truck prior to causing an accident. Drivers need to be alert so that they can react in time and keep everyone safe – a phone makes this harder.
Have you been injured already?
If you’ve been injured in an accident caused by a truck driver, then you need to know how to seek financial compensation for medical bills and related costs.