Imagine yourself on the highway traveling at 65 mph, then you notice a fully-loaded 85,000-pound 18-wheeler coming up behind you at a fast rate of speed in your rearview mirror. The size, weight and speed of the truck is a little frightening. When you glance in your rear view mirror again, you notice that the truck driver is talking on a cell phone while he is getting closer and closer to your car. Your heart races as you begin to think that the truck may hit you if he doesn’t slow down.
This may seem like a frightening scenario, but the truth is that these incidents are quite common on today’s highways. You are not over-reacting to the potential danger. Distracted driving is one of the main causes of trucking accidents today. New communications technologies give truck drivers instant access to important information they need about road, weather and emergency conditions, as well as locating dispatchers and delivery points. Cell phone calls and text messages in a two-ton truck going 70 mph can be lethal.
In 2015, a Texas man suffered herniated discs, a concussion, and a traumatic brain injury when a commercial truck rear-ended him. An investigation of the accident revealed that the truck driver was talking on his cell phone at the time of the collision. When the crash occurred, the impact was so great from the weight and speed of the truck, the car it hit was flipped upside down. Thomas East, the 37-year-old driver in the car, was immediately rushed to a nearby hospital. Later, details of the accident revealed that the truck driver had made five cell phone calls within fifteen minutes before the crash. A lawsuit was filed, and $3 million was awarded to Thomas East for damages.
According to the Chicago truck accident lawyers at Cogan & Power, “large, commercial trucks with distracted drivers behind the wheel, become a lethal weapon on our highways. In 2010, the Transportation Department announced a federal ban on texting by drivers of commercial vehicles such as large trucks and buses, but cell phone calls were not banned.”