Hit by a Distracted Truck Driver: Now What?Mark Clore ·
Lawmakers have long-recognized distracted driving as a serious national problem. It inflicts harm that extends far beyond the driver; it has grave consequences for other drivers and pedestrians as well. Distracted driving seriously injures and kills the innocent, causes emotional and psychological trauma, and inflicts costly damage to other vehicles and public roadways. When the distracted driver is a trucker, these tragic injuries and consequences are magnified exponentially. If someone you know has been hit by a distracted truck driver: now what?
What Actions Qualify as Distracted Driving?
Purposeful distracted driving takes two main forms: eyes off the road (looking at roadside billboards, checking one’s reflection in the mirror, staring at things on the side of the road, etc.) and hands off the wheel (texting, drinking, eating, changing a CD, fiddling with the radio, etc.). But distracted driving also happens when truck drivers are impaired–for example when they have been on the road for too many hours or are excessively tired. This is known as driver fatigue, a well-known cause of truck wreck tragedies. Alternatively, the distracted trucker may be impaired by alcohol or drugs. These last two categories of reckless truck driving terrify us even more.
A Public Safety Hazard: The Basic Statistics
Distracted and drowsy driving accounts for roughly 600,000 deaths and about 500,000 injuries each year in the United States. It is estimated that 94% of fatalities are due to driver error, and someone who has been awake for 24 hours has driving skills equivalent to a person who is legally drunk. This is because severe sleep deprivation affects your judgment, attentiveness, coordination, and reaction time.
Truck drivers are notorious for having to make long hauls in a limited time. Some of them, sadly enough, push the limits far too long, and they stay awake on the road until, tragically…they don’t. Even worse, other truck drivers may resort to taking amphetamines or other pills to stay awake. These truckers can be just as dangerous to the motoring public, from the mental (cognitive) changes to their behavior and reactions, as those who are too tired to be driving. Some studies have revealed that those who use their cell phones to talk or text while driving is even more likely to cause collisions than the seriously fatigued driver. And distracted drivers, regardless of the cause, lose precious seconds of response–time that they would have been they were not distracted; this can cause them to lose control of their vehicle, and crash at higher speeds. When we consider the legal weight of an 18 wheeler is about 40 tons (80,000 lbs), we know all too well why we see too many of these catastrophic wrecks that cause devastating loss of life and property on our highways.
Here are some other basic facts and statistics about distracted driving:
- The risk of a wreck is increased by 3x when the driver is fatigued
- The risk of a wreck is increased 4x when the driver is talking on a cell phone
- The risk of a wreck is increased 7x when the driver is reaching for a device
- The risk of a wreck is increased 23 times if the driver is texting
- The average time the driver’s eyes are off the road while texting is 5 seconds
- At 55 mph, this is like driving blind for the length of a football field
- Roughly 6,000 fatal crashes each year are caused by drowsy drivers
What the Can the Lawyer Do?
The lawyer who is contacted early in the trucking case can involve investigators, experts and others in accident reconstruction to take photographs, video, and make diagrams and calculations based on physical evidence still at the scene. The lawyer who represents you can send early requests to the trucking company to preserve important legal evidence, such as daily logs, time sheets, truck maintenance and repairs, etc. In short, vital evidence may need to be secured soon after the crash, especially when someone is hit by a distracted truck driver. So, if you or a loved one is the victim of a distracted truck driver, it is important to seek legal counsel right away.
Hit By A Distracted Truck Driver and in Need of an Attorney?
The attorneys at Clore Law Group are experienced in handling trucking and auto accident cases, including those involving distracted drivers. We are familiar with and understand important trucking regulations and laws that can impact the case. We have, tragically, represented families where loved ones were killed by truck drivers, and where wrecks resulted in paralysis or severe and life-long injuries. We work with highly qualified expert witnesses in trucking safety, tractor-trailer crash characteristics, engineering, accident reconstruction, and similar scientific fields, as well as numerous types of physicians who devote their careers to caring for such people with severe and permanent injuries. And we have had substantial success in helping such victims and their families.
If your loved one or family member died, or you or they experienced a severe injury because of a trucker’s carelessness, we will get to the root cause. And if distracted driving played a role, we will work diligently to protect your legal rights and to assist you in your search for justice. So, if you or your family are a victim of a distracted driving accident and are seeking help, reach out to a Clore Law personal injury attorney by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or calling us Toll-Free at 1-800-610-2546 for a free and confidential consultation.
U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, “Traffic Safety FactsResearch Note, Distracted Driving 2016” April 2018), available at the following URL address: https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/812517.