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Distracted big rig drivers pose road safety hazards

Driving in and around Houston can be challenging with all of the traffic clogging the highways and interstates. Making it even worse are drivers who are distracted by their cellphones or other electronic devices.

When those drivers are sitting behind the wheels of large, commercial trucks, the risk of danger to other motorists skyrockets even further.

According to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), bus drivers, interstate truckers and those transporting hazardous materials are prohibited from using hand-held mobile devices to talk or test when operating their vehicles.

These rules are imposed by the federal Department of Transportation (DOT) in an attempt to curb instances of distracted driving. If big rig drivers violate these restrictions, they can face fines and/or face suspension or revocation of their commercial driver's licenses (CDL).

It's not just texting

Also included in the ban are the following activities:

  • Sending, reading or responding to emails
  • Generating or responding to instant messages
  • Updating Facebook statuses or tweeting
  • Initiating or terminating voice communications that require pressing more than one button
  • Accessing web pages

If you suffered injuries in an accident with a large commercial truck, your personal injury attorney may subpoena the truck driver's cellphone records or social media accounts to prove that he or she was indeed distracted and not giving their full attention to the task at hand -- maneuvering their big rigs safely down the highway.

This can potentially clear the way for successful litigation that can put money back into your pocket as compensation for any accident-related expenses for medical bills, as well as other damages.

Source: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, "Distracted Driving," accessed March 09, 2018

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Brian Jensen

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