Driver Cell Phone Use Risky -- Especially by Truckers
Motorists are becoming increasingly more aware of the dangers of using a cell phone while driving, and yet many continue to do so. Resisting the temptation to use a cell phone becomes even more important when the driver is controlling an 80,000 pound semi-truck and trailer that can cause devastating damage to a 3,000 pound car and its occupants. New trucking laws have banned the use of cell phones by semi drivers in some states, but trucking accident attorneys are skeptical about how much of an effect these new laws are having.
A survey conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety indicates that drivers are more likely to engage in dangerous behaviors when they also use cell phones while driving. The survey polled 3,896 United States residents of legal driving age. According to the survey, 69 percent of the licensed drivers surveyed reported that within the last month they had talked on a cell phone when driving, even though 89 percent believe their safety is threatened when other drivers use cell phones. Furthermore, 95 percent of respondents disapproved of e-mailing and texting while driving, but 27 percent indicated that they had done so in the past month.
The survey also found that drivers who regularly used their cell phones while driving engaged in other risky behaviors such as speeding (65 percent), driving while drowsy (44 percent), and sending e-mail or texts (53 percent). However, drivers who never use their cell phone while driving reported much lower instances of these behaviors. Only 31 percent reported speeding, 14 percent reported driving while drowsy, and 3 percent reported sending an e-mail or text.
Some states like Illinois have adopted laws that bar commercial drivers from texting and using cell phones while driving. In addition, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has trucking regulations in effect that bar drivers from calling and texting while on the road. Still, many commercial drivers are using their cell phones to the point of distraction, resulting in a trucking accident. Given the size and weight of commercial trucks, it is critical that commercial drivers put down the phone. Motorists who have been hurt or lost a loved one because of a trucking accident involving a commercial driver who was distracted by his or her cell phone may be entitled to compensation.