Truck accidents are among the most devastating types of traffic accidents. The sheer size of the vehicles is enough to crumple standard cars into so much scrap metal. If you have been involved in a truck accident, it is important to remember that you are not qualified to determine who is at fault and why the accident occurred. You only stand to benefit when you let an experienced truck accident attorney handle the details of your case.
One of the top contributing factors in truck accidents is distracted driving, and several government organizations target cell phones as a leading cause of distraction. In an attempt to end distracted driving by truckers, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced in November 2011 that a federal cell phone ban was being enacted. That ban officially went into effect January 3, 2012.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recommended the rule to the Department of Transportation (DOT). After the DOT passed the rule, FMCSA officials applauded the action, calling it a "giant leap for safety." Research conducted by the FMCSA shows that commercial drivers are three times more likely to cause an accident when reaching for objects such as cell phones. In addition, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that 5,474 people died in 2009 as a result of distracted driving.
The federal cell phone ban affects approximately 4 million commercial truck and bus drivers across the nation. The ban will be enforced on the nation's Interstate Highway System. Commercial truck drivers are now only allowed to talk on a cell phone with a hands-free device, and such devices may be wired or wireless. In addition, commercial trucking and busing companies are required to enact companywide rules that ban cell phone use.
Any driver who violates the federal cell phone ban faces stiff penalties that include a fine of up to $2,750 per offense and the possible loss of his or her commercial driving privileges. Commercial trucking companies that allow their drivers to use handheld cell phones face a maximum fine of $11,000.