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Study Shows Texting While Driving a Large Truck Raises Risk of Crash by 23 Times

A study of long-haul truckers found that truckers were 23 times more likely to crash when they were text messaging, the New York Times reported July 27. The study placed video cameras in the cabs of more than 100 long-haul trucks over 18 months. Researchers at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute then reviewed the videos to see what drivers were doing in the moments before a crash or a near miss. They found that typically, truck drivers were looking at their wireless devices for an average of five seconds — time when they couldn’t have their eyes on the road. According to the article, that’s enough time for a large truck at highway speed to travel more than the length of a football field.

The study did not look at drivers of passenger cars. However, the researchers said truckers display behaviors similar to those of drivers in passenger cars and the results can be generalized to them. In fact, preliminary results from a VTTI study of teenaged drivers in smaller vehicles show similar levels of risk while texting, the article said. Other studies have also found a vastly increased risk for those who text and drive. To Tom Dingus, the director of the VTTI, all that research means no one should text and drive — it should be illegal. It is already illegal for at least some drivers in 14 states, but Florida has no law addressing the issue, aside from general prohibitions against reckless driving.

As a Coral Springs big rig accident lawyer, I would not be sorry to see laws addressing the issue of texting and driving a semi truck. Here in Florida, we’ve already seen the results firsthand in the case of the truck driver who rear-ended a school bus near Ocala, killing one girl and seriously injuring another. That driver is accused of using his phone directly before the crash. Tractor-trailers are much bigger and heavier than ordinary cars and trucks, which means they can cause serious damage in a crash, including wrongful death and permanent, lifelong disabilities. Given the seriousness of a truck crash, it’s very important that truck drivers avoid texting and any other distraction, especially when research shows such a clear risk.

When the careless actions of truck drivers — or their trucking companies — cause serious accidents, victims have the right to hold them responsible for the results. In a Hialeah semi truck accident lawsuit, victims and their loved ones can recover compensation for their serious injuries, including loss of a loved one, brain damage, paralysis and other catastrophic injuries. Just as importantly for many families, they can recover all of the costs the accident caused, including the loss of up to a lifetime of income and medical costs, including future medical costs where appropriate. Our Deerfield Beach trucking accident lawyers have extensive experience handling these complex and difficult cases.

If you or a loved one was seriously hurt in a crash with a large truck, you should call Cohn, Smith & Cohn today for help. To set up a free consultation, you can call our main office in Pembroke Pines at (954) 431-8100 or contact us through our Web site.

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