As you travel down the roads, highways and freeways of Texas, you likely observe many other drivers using their cellphones while behind the wheel. Unfortunately, some of these people drive huge trucks.

No one need tell you that should a distracted commercial truck driver crash into you or cause you to crash into him or her, you and your passengers face a very real danger of becoming seriously hurt or killed. Just last month, a truck driver allegedly watching a porn video while behind the wheel hit and killed a Minnesota highway worker.

Distracted driving hallmarks

TCI Capital lists the following three types of distraction that truckers often engage in:

  1. Manual distraction when they take their hands off the steering wheel
  2. Visual distraction when they take their eyes off the road
  3. Cognitive distraction when they focus their minds on something other than their driving

Not surprisingly, when a truck driver uses his or her cellphone while driving, (s)he subjects himself or herself to all three kinds of distraction at the same time. The results can be, and often are, disastrous.

Federal regulations

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration believes that cellphone usage by truck drivers represents such a threat to public safety that it severely penalizes drivers who engage in this practice. They can face up to a $2,700 fine if law enforcement officers catch them doing it, whether or not they cause an accident. The FMCSA likewise fines trucking companies that require their drivers to use any kind of hand-held device while driving an $11,000 maximum fine.

Even though facing these potential penalties, however, numerous over-the-road truck drivers persist in driving while distracted. Bottom line, cellphone usage, whether hand-held or hands-free, while driving poses a significant threat both to the truck driver and to you.

This is general educational information and not intended to provide legal advice.